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Implementing performance measurement tools for DC's Health Benefit Exchange

August 2014

NFF consulted with the District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange Authority (HBX) to help the Application Operations and Maintenance (O&M) team assess application and server performance management capabilities for the DC Health Exchange Production Environment. The O&M team needed a dynamic tool to measure and report on the Health Exchange application performance metrics and provide key insights into the multitude of application code layers, application servers, system interfaces, and external links that make up the platform. The HBX O&M team wanted to take a unique approach of implementing performance measurement tools for DC's HBX application prior to any end user impact and as a predictive tool to sample new software releases for potential performance issues prior to production implementation. This approach would not only alert the team immediately if there were any production bottlenecks,  but also allow potential issues to be resolved by development teams prior to production roll out.

NFF, along with partner Riverbed, deployed a proof of concept (POC) pilot that captured and monitored live performance metrics of the various infrastructure and application components. The pilot was successful in identifying the needed metrics, functionality, and insight the O&M team needed to create a proactive and predictive stance.

The Healthcare Exchange was able to demonstrate that implementation of Riverbed’s SteelCentral AppInternals and NetSensor solutions would allow them to cost effectively address the requirement without overwhelming capital investment costs. The solution is able to monitor all the key application components including servers, application code execution, and network performance metrics to provide a complete proactive and predictive application performance management environment and ensure optimal end user experience of DC’s HBX.

Since April 2013, NFF has assisted HBX with multiple projects. NFF currently provides a large team of IT professionals on a full-time basis under a multi-year staffing contract.

NFF Receives Cisco’s Customer Satisfaction Excellence Award for the 20th Time

July 2014

Washington, DC – July 27, 2014 - NFF has been recognized by Cisco Systems for the 20th time for achieving the Cisco Channel Customer Satisfaction Excellence Award. Customer Satisfaction Excellence is the highest distinction a Cisco partner can achieve within the Cisco Channel Partner Program.

Cisco acknowledges Certified Partners that have the highest customer satisfaction distinction within each geographic region on a quarterly basis. Partners that have achieved Cisco Customer Satisfaction Excellence are identified with a gold star indication within Partner Locator search results on the Cisco Website. (

The Customer Satisfaction Excellence award from Cisco demonstrates NFF’s commitment to its clients’ success as well as its maturity in implementing industry best practices in IT service delivery.

Secure Mobility Event Success

April 2014

On March 25th, NFF and Cisco cohosted a private event for business leaders and IT professionals addressing the mobile security challenges businesses are facing. Luckily the snowy conditions of that morning did not prevent our audience from attending.

It became clear that most companies do not have a mobile security policy in place, or they have one that is enforced inadequately. The risks of data breaches by use of personal devices on the corporate network are tremendous. The average worker currently owns two to three mobile devices and they are going to use them at work whether employers like it or not. Organizations allow this because they see the need for user convenience and productivity, but wonder how to establish that in a secure way.

During our panel discussion, questions evolved around policy development and enforcement, which is a continuous process. Secure Mobility is more than a solution. The focus goes beyond privacy concerns and protecting intellectual property. Some panelists even suggested that it is a business imperative i.e. that companies need to refine the controls users have over their data on mobile devices as well as on desktop computers. Understanding what happens to your data and having the ability to control it is key.

Organizations need to support employee “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD) policies. There is a desire for more secure access for company data center and virtualized resources. Cisco’s Identity Services Engine (ISE) is the solution of choice to support this. NFF is certified as an Authorized Technology Provider for the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) technology. 

NFF plans to organize this event again in the near future. Let us know if you are interested in attending the next event and we’ll make sure to send you an invitation!

Implementing Security in a Mobile Environment

February 2014

March 25th NFF and Cisco will be co-hosting a private event for the business leaders of our community, in an effort to address some of the top security threats businesses will face in 2014. With the increased use of personal, mobile, and wearable devices at the workplace, we need to address the security challenges associated with it before it’s too late:

  • >15 billion devices by 2015, average worker: 3 devices
  • New workspace: Anytime, anywhere, any device
  • 71% of Gen Y workforce do not obey policies
  • 60% will download sensitive data on a personal device

To help understand the risks and solutions, we confirmed the following speakers:

Michael Korten, security expert with Cisco, provides a broad overview with different mobile security scenarios, Cisco security solutions, and how they support a secure mobility implementation in different environments.

Troy Icenhour, former Deputy Director of Network and Telecommunications Division at National Institutes of Health (NIH) will help us understand the factors that should be considered in secure computing implementation such as impact to different business units and the importance of having defined policies.

Bruce Maurer, Network Architect at the MITRE Corporation, provides a perspective and understanding of the challenges with implementing mobility technology while ensuring adherence to a restrictive set of policies.

Jonathan Topping, Lead Solutions Architect at NFF will discuss a number of varying secure mobility implementations and solution sets and share comparisons of technical solutions delivered by NFF over a spectrum of restrictive and open use cases.

This is a free event with limited seating, please contact Monique DiCarlo at to receive more information and an invitation.

Multi-Year Contract with DC Water Awarded to NFF

February 2014

NFF has been awarded a multi-year contract with DC Water to provide Information Technology Professional Services. DC Water has been providing potable water and treating wastewater since 1938. In the early history of Washington DC, there were separate sewer, water, and sanitation departments. Over the years the agency underwent several name and organizational changes, in 2010 DC WASA initiated a rebranding campaign and is now known as DC Water.

During the next three years, DC water has aggressive plans to implement several Information Technology systems, and enhance their capabilities to better serve DC Water’s customers. In order to meet these objectives, DC Water has a need for high quality consulting and technical support services to fulfill temporary staffing and project-term requirements. 

NFF has been awarded several DC Water contracts since 2001, and provided DC Water with professional and consulting services to assess, design, implement, project-manage and support DC Water’s Network Infrastructure, Helpdesk Operations and Management, Information Security, SharePoint Administration, Server Operations and Critical Applications. Throughout these years, NFF has established a solid reputation for providing expert-level IT staff and services in support of advancing the technology initiatives of DC Water.


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