Many offices went dark and were knocked offline in June when a derecho, a rare but severe type of wind and thunderstorm, wreaked havoc across the mid-Atlantic states. Among those affected were several federal government organizations, which were forced to shut down operations completely for several days because the severe weather knocked out power to their offices.
In response to this, a recent Washington Post report noted, the government should take a hard look at expanding teleworking opportunities and remote access capabilities for public employees. In doing so, the government will enjoy better business continuity, as power outages at organizations’ offices won’t necessarily translate to a dip in productivity.
Traditionally, contributor Sudhir Verma of consulting firm Force 3 wrote, remote access capabilities have been viewed as more beneficial to employees than to anyone else. But this is not always the case, the expert argued. Allowing employees to work from home or a remote location can also improve an organization’s disaster preparedness and recovery capabilities, he said.
“I believe, however, that the time has come for a telework mind-set change,” Verma wrote. “Certainly, it promotes convenience and efficiency, but not until agencies view telework as a critical aspect of disaster recovery will it take hold in a meaningful way.”
Verma acknowledged that government organizations tend to prioritize the protection of data in the event of an IT disaster. While that’s a good starting point, there are other areas that require attention as well, such as access to information.
That may mean federal agencies’ disaster preparedness plans would be improved with the use of remote access tools, such as a remote desktop protocol client. By using RDP, these organizations can provide an enhanced user experience for employees working remotely, regardless of device, while also affording themselves a high level of security needed to protect confidential data.
“In the event of a disaster, telework could mean the difference between an agency that is functioning effectively and providing critical services, and one that is shut down,” Verma wrote.
The government has made strides in the past to promote telework and remote access capabilities. Most notably, Congress passed the Telework Act of 2010, which recognized the benefits of allowing employees to work remotely, as well as what is needed to support these opportunities. With the appropriate policies and technologies, more organizations will be able to heed the recommendations of the legislation.
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