New Research: DoD IT and Program Managers Want Telework to Stay

ALEXANDRIA, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The majority of Department of Defense (DoD) IT and program managers say the DoD is experiencing a remote work and collaboration paradigm shift, driven by the COVID-related remote work surge. While they acknowledge security concerns and collaboration challenges, 81 percent say they want to see the DoD telework more frequently (post-pandemic) and 85 percent say the lessons learned from this surge will leave the DoD better prepared to support the warfighter in the future.

MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT, reveals the impact of this paradigm shift in its new report, “Meeting the Mobile Mission: Secure Collaboration for National Defense.” The study, underwritten by Microsoft, is based on a survey of 150 DoD IT and program managers, and explores the state of DoD remote work. The report compares perspectives from these critical groups and best practices to balance access, collaboration, and security.

Ninety percent of DoD IT and program managers are teleworking at least part-time due to recent global events. This said, IT and program managers are concerned about the potential long-term impacts on national security. Just 30 percent say their department was “very prepared” to meet the mission when the transition to telework was first announced. Digging in, 85 percent have experienced challenges while collaborating and almost two-thirds (61 percent) say remote collaboration leaves department networks, clouds, and endpoints vulnerable.

Despite awareness of the security risks, many IT managers (84 percent) and program managers (83 percent) admit to taking security short-cuts while conducting official department business. This includes using a personal mobile device or laptop and using a personal cloud or file sharing account.

“Every CIO and CISO is dissecting telework progress and challenges; security is priority one,” said Steve O’Keeffe, founder, MeriTalk. “Net – we’ve taken a giant leap forward. Now is the time for open dialog across government to identify what’s working and double down on what’s needed.”

Both program managers and IT leaders are focused on strengthening security. Ninety percent of DoD program managers say they have taken steps within the last month to secure their remote environment, but research also shows areas for improvement. Fewer than half (43 percent) of IT managers say they are providing telework-specific security training for the IT workforce. Less than one third (29 percent) report they provide telework-specific security training for the non-IT workforce.

DoD leaders are also focused on upgrading access and collaboration capabilities. Almost all IT managers (94 percent) say they have adopted new solutions to foster remote collaboration. While more work is needed, most IT and program managers (85 percent) say the lessons learned from this surge in telework will leave the DoD better prepared to support the warfighter and an agile workforce.

“We need to effectively support the mission, and very importantly – the security requirements,” said Greg Myers, Vice President Federal, Microsoft. “This means empowering teams with the ability to deliver the right information to the right person at the right time – whether they are in the field, in the office, or at home. It means secure bring-your-own-device policies, cloud, and collaboration. Agencies across the government have fast forwarded digital transformation over these past months – the key is to continue the progress at scale.”

To view the full report, visit: https://www.meritalk.com/study/meeting-the-mobile-mission/.

About MeriTalk

The voice of tomorrow’s government today, MeriTalk is a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT. The award-winning editorial team and world-class events and research staff produces unmatched news, analysis, and insight. The goal: more efficient, responsive, and citizen-centric government. MeriTalk connects with an audience of 151,000 Federal community contacts. For more information, visit www.MeriTalk.com or follow us on Twitter, @MeriTalk. MeriTalk is a 300Brand organization.

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