Remote government workers could be the new normal. From college students to government officials, laptops, tablets, and smartphones are being used to complete course work, discuss policy, and run essential government departments. Teleworking, while not completely new to colleges and universities with online classes, is a new venture for many government agencies. With valuable data on the line, it’s more important than ever for organizations to have a strong cyberposture and even stronger security tools.
“We’re not reopening the Pentagon. The Pentagon’s never been closed. We’re not reopening the department. The department’s never been closed,” said Jonathan Hoffman, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman. Because of the coronavirus, around 4 million Department of Defense active-duty and civilian personnel are working remotely—and they’re far from the only ones.
In a recent webinar, Sean Martinez, technical account manager with SolarWinds, explained how government departments and agencies are facing a variety of challenges with teleworking, especially with so many employees to coordinate. This dramatic increase in remote workers has created “VPN saturation, capacity planning, and software update issues,” and an uptick in for risk of cyberthreats.
During this time, IT teams and the systems they run are being tested. With constant alerts, updates, and patches, it’s time to find the right technology to relieve this burden. “We need to look at the quality of service rules, so we can prioritize applications and how well applications are accessing the system. So, one user or one client isn’t saturating you,” said Martinez. “With this significant change, we need to think of VPN roles, network control roles, and making sure there aren’t new attack vectors opened.”
With an array of devices and applications connecting to agency networks, there are immediate challenges presented, including capacity, performance, security, application access, IT support, and business continuity. Martinez said protecting phones, tablets, and computers is a necessary step, but there’s more to focus on. “It’s important to think not just about the web and services, but the web apps like Webex, SharePoint, and Teams,” he said.
Ensuring the security and performance of networks, especially during these times, requires a solution that “responds or identifies any performance issues and availability issues, and helps you understand the complexities and challenges you have in your infrastructure,” concluded Martinez.
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