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Commerce Dept. and ThunderCat on fostering a hybrid work environment

Government agencies, like most enterprises, continue to adjust their technology strategies to support the need for a hybrid work environment. Hybrid work arrangements help agencies improve their ability to hire and retain talent and remain operational in the face of disruptions. Consequently, the need to modernize infrastructure to ensure secure resource access remains critical to agencies.

André Mendes, CIO of the Department of Commerce, and ThunderCat CTO Kurt Steege joined FedScoop for a discussion on enabling the hybrid workforce and their experiences, respectively.

The Commerce Department, with diverse bureaus, has successfully transitioned to a hybrid model, leveraging prior cloud presence. Mendes emphasized how, over time, the department’s IT environment has evolved into a highly diverse state. Efforts have been made to standardize this environment, with cloud migrations playing a significant role in creating a more uniform and hybrid-compatible infrastructure.

“We actually were very, very fortunate that a lot of our bureaus already had a fairly heavy presence in the cloud prior to the pandemic starting. And so, for us, there were literally almost no challenges going from being fully in the office to being fully remote in a couple of days. I know that some agencies struggled with VPN loads; we didn’t have that problem, fortunately, with some of our environments because they were already highly distributed,” said Mendes.

Mendes also discussed the need for agencies to shift from VPN-based security to a zero-trust architecture, eliminating VPN vulnerabilities and highlighting Commerce’s holistic ZTA approach.

Steege also emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive approach to enhance security and resilience—which involves aligning people, processes and products.

“The Department of Commerce has done a great job with this… assess your environment, include not just the infrastructure…you also need to understand the information that you’re accessing and where it’s being housed is critical. And then [understand] your user personas, understanding how the users of your environment, how citizen resources are going to really utilize that information as well,” Steege said.

Steege and Mendes explored the successful adaptation of agencies and enterprises to hybrid work environments, emphasizing the importance of zero-trust architecture, data optimization and cultural adjustments in managing virtual workforces.

Learn more about enabling a hybrid workforce.

This video panel discussion was produced by Scoop News Group, for FedScoop, and underwritten by ThunderCat Technology.