The Homeland Security Department’s system to enable telework needs new capabilities to ensure employees can access systems and data during an emergency situation, according to a new report by the department’s inspector general.
DHS, which is implementing its Workplace as a Service, or WPaaS, program to enhance telework as part of an overall effort to move to cloud-based services, has not included an alternate processing site that could continue functioning and providing data during an emergency situation.
The WPaaS effort is designed to provide a virtualized desktop on a remote servers located at one of DHS’ two data centers to support efforts like telework and continuity of operations planning.
Yet while the contractors in charge of WPaaS were supposed to implement the system at both of those data centers, the different versions of WPaaS at those sites did not provide alternate processing capabilities for each other. If there were an outage at one of those centers, WPaaS users of that site would have to wait for that specific center to be restored before they could once again access their systems, the IG found.
The IG recommended the department identify an alternate processing site for WPaaS and revise contingency plans to include a strategy to recover and perform system operations at the alternate processing site for an extended period. DHS’ chief information office concurred with both recommendations.