Federal, state, and local governments have been intently focused on managing the wholesale transition of their Information Technology to create sustainable operations for a suddenly remote workforce. Continuity of Operations/Continuity of Government COOP/COG became more urgent post-9/11, but it was still primarily focused on identifying that subset of the workforce was deemed ‘essential’ or ‘mission critical’ and telling them to come to work at their customary location or an alternate official worksite, and telling everyone else to stay home.
Now, however, governments are faced with figuring out how to ensure the full utilization of their workforce for an extended period of time, and with most of those employees based outside of the office – many from home – to ensure the continuity of government operations. From an IT perspective, it helps to break this challenge down into its components:
Outside of those three primary considerations, other issues need to be addressed as well. Bandwidth is an important consideration in any IT solution. Do any of the applications require unusually high levels of bandwidth? How efficient can your solution be when not all teleworkers will have broadband access? And even if they do have access, it is important to recognize that not only do broadband speeds vary dramatically, but that other resources attached to a home network – such as children engaged in distance learning – can eat into available bandwidth.
Under these circumstances, cloud computing becomes an especially attractive option. For Federal users, TIC 3.0 permits direct connection to cloud-based resources – rather than having to route traffic back through the home agency – and it also allows the use of software as a service (SaaS) platforms.
With these considerations and options in mind, key elements of a solution for secure remote access by a government workforce should include:
There are mature commercial solutions that address all of these factors. And ideally, from an IT overhead perspective, as many of these solutions as possible should function as a single integrated system, with a single point of management. Organizations that have been grappling with the need to move rapidly to support remote and mobile worker populations don’t have to – and frankly, shouldn’t – re-invent the wheel, either in terms of technologies or the best practices required for their adoption.
Learn more about how to pivot to a secure, remote government workforce with Fortinet Teleworker Solutions.
Read more on how government operations are transitioning to a remote workforce.