Simple tool ensures teleworking security
Telework adoption within the federal government is growing, although not as quickly as expected. Inadequate technology and data security issues are continuing critical barriers to telework.
Response and compliance to the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 has been mixed, if not disappointing. Among the results found in the “Status of Telework in the Federal Government” report issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, most telling is the correlation between secure, remote access and effective technology to the success of telework.
Focus group participants shared that teleworkers within their agencies only have access to a government-issued BlackBerry rather than a laptop, and others commented that there is no available access to shared drives for teleworkers and that there are challenges with the use of personal computers by teleworkers due to security issues.
Clearly, data entitlement and identity assurance are critical aspects to the federal telework conversation.
And it has been since 2004, when the President issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12). This directive ordered the establishment of a government-wide standard for secure and reliable forms of ID for employees and contractors who access government-controlled facilities and information systems.
However, compliance again has fallen well short of expectations.
The climate in which we work today demands that teleworkers use a true, multi-factor authentication-based, remote access solution. Contrary to some, we at Route1 believe that identity management for remote access should be based on the user, not the device.
Various agencies within both the U.S. and Canadian governments use the Route1 MobiKEY to further their telework initiatives. Enabled from a pocketsize smart-card embedded device, the MobiKEY is an identity validation tool that provides secure remote access for teleworkers no matter where they are.
MobiKEY is both clientless and driverless, and integrates seamlessly into existing IT infrastructure, as well as complements virtual environments. Most importantly, MobiKEY’s patented architecture ensures that government networks are not at risk to the introduction of viruses or malware, while leaving no data footprint on the remote computer they are connecting from.
With MobiKEY, users get an identical user experience to that when they’re in the office — with one important benefit: All enterprise files stay within the firewall, simplifying security policy enforcement, and protecting data from a number of possible cyber attacks and breaches.
We applaud the government for its efforts to embrace the paradigm shift resulting from the rise of telework. For federal agencies to realize the true potential of telework and all its benefits, they must accept that offsite individuals need a secure user experience that is identical to the onsite experience. Teleworkers need technology that is easy to use and conducive to productivity. Users should not waste time on lengthy setup processes and configurations, loading software, making changes to the remote computer — they shouldn’t even need a specific, designated computer to enable remote access.
These hindrances will not only have a very negative effect on costs, productivity, long-term security, but also slow the rate at which agencies can implement policies for teleworking.
Tony Busseri is CEO of Toronto-based Route1. Route1 is a security and identity management company that works with the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. federal courts. The company offers solutions for secure, remote access that are cost-effective, proven and easy to use. Route1 solutions are built on the premise of assuring the identity of an individual, not a computer, tablet or other mobile device. The company offers products that empower customers with true, multifactor authentication.