Commercial Virtual Remote, spun up last year to support pandemic telework, goes away this summer. DISA's Global Directory is the key to ensuring the cloud collaboration continues.
During the pandemic, the Defense Department’s Commercial Virtual Remote quickly became the largest Microsoft Teams deployment in the world, bringing departmentwide collaboration tools to DOD.
While employees embraced the platform, CVR was always intended to be a temporary fix. Now, the Defense Information Systems Agency is working hard to ensure that hard-won collaboration tools and practices don’t disappear when CVR sunsets in July.
According to Les Benito, director of operations at DISA’s Cloud Computing Program Office, Global Directory is the key, providing “a cloudwide identity” as the military services spin up their own Microsoft 365 environments under the Defense Enterprise Office Solutions (DEOS) contract.
DISA began developing Global Directory last summer with the goal of augmenting, not replacing, existing identity and access management systems, Benito said. System owners “still control access within their individual tenancies,” but having a shared identity framework will allow for “a CVR-like experience that users have grown to expect,” he added.
A minimum viable product was tested in the fall, and DISA is now using Global Directory for its DOD365 implementation. In addition, the Army and Navy have adopted it for their DEOS implementations, with the Air Force and the U.S. Southern Command coming on board in April and “others to follow this summer,” Benito said.
Department of the Air Force CIO Lauren Knausenberger said the Air Force will fully transition back to its own Cloud Hosted Enterprise Services program before CVR ends in June. The cross-department integration is “not as interoperable as I’d like it to be yet,” she said, but DISA and the military services are trying to address the sticking points and ensure that some of CVR’s more modern features are adopted.
“People are now used to that,” Knausenberger said. “The whole culture has shifted, and people understand how absolutely critical it is to work anywhere you need to work and to have collaboration tools that actually work.”
This article was first posted to GCN’s sibling site FCW as part of its Agency Spotlight on DISA.
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