Telework still lags COOP

Government is making great strides to prepare for continuity-of-operations events, but frequent teleworkers are still relatively rare.

That's the upshot of a survey released today by Juniper Networks, 'Government Action Survey: Status and Progress of Emergency Preparedness and Continuity of Operations (COOP). '

More than 1,400 civilian, defense and state and local government officials responded to the survey about telework and continuity of operations.

The survey, available for free at http://www.junipercoop.com, shows that 88 percent of responding agency officials said their agency has taken steps to prepare for COOP. Sixty-three percent of respondents said that their agencies are aligning their infrastructure to support COOP.

But only 28 percent of those surveyed used telework at least one day a week.

Haywood J. Talcove, Juniper's vice president for the public sector in the Americas, said the survey underscores the connection between telework and continuity-of-operations planning.

The survey showed some interesting trends. For example, state and local government felt they were best prepared for natural disasters. Both defense and civilian agencies reported that they were prepared for cyberattacks. 'They deal with that every day,' Talcove said.

But government is not so good at handling unexpected threats, Talcove said. Talcove, who had been a city manager, said citizens need their government more during an emergency than at any other time.

Data loss is still a big concern, as employees become more mobile. Data loss was the top concern of Defense Department agencies surveyed. In civilian and state and local government agencies, data loss was outranked by concerns for employee safety.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents said their agencies have security procedures for telework and traveling with sensitive data.

But a little more cooperation from their colleagues in the legislative branch could help the government become better prepared for a COOP event. Seventy-six percent of respondents said Congress should play a greater role in COOP.

Juniper offers an array of products that enable secure teleworking.

With Juniper's Secure Sockets Layer VPN, a government employee can work from a home computer or an airport kiosk, said Tim LeMaster, systems engineering director at Juniper Networks' federal division. SSL has been around for a long time and it's built into every Web browser, he said.

Juniper products also comply with the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Federal Information Processing Standard 140-2 and Common Criteria, the international standard for computer security.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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