Government employees with security clearances may soon be able to access classified information from remote locations, according to an article on www.Nextgov.com. The 2010 Defense appropriation bill (the National Defense Authorization Act) calls for a pilot program to test the feasibility of a secure “telework” site within the Washington, D.C. area for government employees needing access to classified information. Currently, employees accessing sensitive information must be physically located within a handful of secure locations inside the beltway.
The project stemmed from the 2005 base realignment and closure mandate as employees were moved from northern Virgina to Fort Meade, MD. Though only 26 miles, the traffic situation adds an hour to the commute, making employee attraction and retention difficult. Currently 2500 employees now have some level of permission to telework, though they only have access to non-classified networks.
While government employees will not be able to work on classified documents at home in their ‘jammies (thankfully), we believe ultimately a distributed network of secure centers will emerge–first in D.C. then other key places. This will create opportunities for vendors to deliver highly secure networks, applications, collaboration tools, videoconferencing, etc. for this specialized remote environment. These may ultimately allow for better local knowledge and identification of patterns related to threats, as these centers may have ties to local/regional fusion centers and public safety agencies. In all, it will certainly be interesting to see how the needs for centralized security and the needs for mobility intersect over time within government.