How a telework bill can boost security, modernization

The bipartisan Pandemic Federal Telework Act would make technology and security an integral part of telework planning and data reporting.

cloud-enabled telework
 

As federal agencies continue to modernize remote work environments, new legislation would permit full-time telework for public sector employees for the duration of the pandemic. In addition, agencies can leverage dollars from the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) – where an additional $125 million was requested in the FY 2020 budget. These funds can be used to upgrade infrastructure to better secure systems and data – and continue to deliver on agency missions.

The need for modern, secure remote work environments is critical as employees continue to connect, share, and collaborate outside of the office – and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

The bipartisan Pandemic Federal Telework Act of 2020 would solidify what federal agencies are already practicing today. However, the telework landscape shifted rapidly over the last six months. For example, in 2018, 42% of federal workers were eligible for telework – and only about 22% of those took advantage. Today, the vast majority of federal workers are remote. According to Beth Cappello, deputy CIO at the Department of Homeland Security, the department turned an average daily load of 10,000 teleworkers into 70,000 almost overnight. It supported a 200% increase in traffic to the Homeland Security Information Network.

Considering this rapid expansion of telework, agencies must consider the sustainability of remote infrastructure long-term, reassess legacy technology – and ask if it is still effective in a remote-work setting.

The shift to telework has also, importantly, exposed a set of cybersecurity challenges for agencies who may have been already struggling with basic blocking and tackling of endpoint hygiene, system patching, and compliance long before the crisis hit. When you factor in the spike in bring your own devices (BYOD) alongside agency-owned assets operating outside the protective perimeter of the enterprise local area network (LAN), agencies are experiencing a massive increase in risk.

The remote work status will remain in effect well into the future – whether this legislation passes or not – and the focus of agencies must shift to improving security and reducing risk.

Agencies must continue to push updates to the remote endpoints and maintain compliance with security and operations policies. These functions are often very resource intensive – if deployed via the virtual private network (VPN) – and will consume precious bandwidth and increase latency and performance issues for users.

With a shift in how devices are connecting to the network – and new challenges managing those devices – it's critical that cyber hygiene evolves quickly to keep teams working and networks safe.

Agencies must consider a radical rethinking of how IT administrators manage and secure operational environments. This new approach must:

  • Provide end-to-end visibility into the new, borderless, operational environment
  • Monitor and manage endpoint usage, performance, and security in real-time without concern for where the endpoint resides
  • Monitor and manage distributed workforce infrastructure and software deployments and patching
  • Continue to manage existing centralized infrastructure
  • Help enforce policy and maintain fundamental cyber hygiene
  • Account for and protect the type, location, and state of protected data now residing outside the perimeter of the enterprise LAN

All of this must be done without negatively impacting the remote connectivity infrastructure – which is primarily intended to carry critical user data, not endpoint management traffic.

Leveraging a single platform that integrates endpoint management and security unifies teams, effectively breaking down the data silos and closing the accountability, visibility, and resilience gaps that often exist between IT operations and security teams. It also enables agencies to leverage a modernized approach for end-to-end visibility across end-users, servers, and cloud endpoints as well as the ability to identify assets, protect systems, detect threats, respond to attacks, and recover at scale.

Agencies have seen the success of telework over the last seven months – and it's clear that we will continue with a distributed workforce for months and years to come. This bipartisan legislation keeps federal employees safe and ensures the delivery of vital citizen services. Further, if TMF dollars are leveraged, there is even more opportunity for innovation. The passage of this Act cannot be about politics. But with voting already underway in the 2020 eleciton, everything is political. The passage of this Act will safeguard the health of the federal workforce as well as federal continuity of operations.

Building long-term resiliency requires a generational step forward. Agencies must take a collective approach towards IT modernization and consider how to ensure staff can work effectively and efficiently from anywhere. That begins with shifting how IT administrators manage and secure operational environments.

NEXT STORY: Spectrum on the battlefield

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.