When compared to the business world, a far lower percentage of federal employees were authorized to telework prior to COVID-19, but social distancing policies are forcing them to work from home.
Today’s sudden shift to teleworking has caused wholesale changes in support requirements for networks, equipment, communications and productivity tools for the DoD and other agencies, according to a recent Government Technology Insider podcast interview with Tim Stone, Verizon UC Lead for the Department of Defense.
“In a pre-COVID-19 world, most federal employees, especially in the Department of Defense, would meet face-to-face, and now around 80 percent of them are working from home,” said Stone. “To support this, agencies are rapidly expanding network capacity – from PRI for voice to private IP circuit bandwidth to increased use of secure VPN capabilities. As such, we have done more network expansion in four weeks than we have done in a year.”
In addition to the authorization of cloud-based tools, and expanded access to audio conferencing for DoD customers, there are security considerations. “As DoD and civilian leaders have always been concerned about security and protecting sensitive information, resources like FedRAMP and the DoD Cloud Cyber Protection Security Resource Guides (SRG) are important tools for having strict standards and guidelines,” Stone added.
Moving forward, all of this rapid network expansion to meet teleworking needs for the DoD and other agencies will change how the government operates.
“This has definitely been a wake up call for many government leaders who want to be prepared for future events,” said Stone. “It will accelerate cloud capabilities and change the way technology is funded overall. And there will also definitely be greater flexibility for teleworking, especially for those who work in sensitive but unclassified (SBU) environments.”