Friday, March 29, 2013

WPaaS - So the Department of Homeland Security is not Yahoo? Not so fast.

Keith Trippie of the Department of Homeland Security recently said the following:

We strongly recommend that federal agencies look at mobility as a recruitment tool. It is a powerful way to bring in new and innovative talent into the federal government....Most of us are either piloting or have operation capabilities. At the department, we are launching something called ‘workplace as a service’ that will provide virtual desktop and mobile device management capabilities.”

Yay! Another new acronym - WPaaS for Workplace as a Service. The DHS has been talking about this since October 2011, and it promises to "modernize how DHS employees work around the country and allow them better remote access." And it's not unique to DHS - there's a LinkedIn group devoted to the topic.

So why does DHS appear, on the surface, to be doing the opposite of what Yahoo is doing? Because the issue isn't the technology that's being used - it's the culture. At Yahoo, the culture dictated that the employees be physically present. At the DHS, the culture dictated that they needed to bring in talented employees, which is a challenge:

Federal News Radio's Jason Miller reported that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) "found in November 2011 that nearly every agency experienced difficulty in defining and hiring cyber workers."

It's kind of hard to secure the homeland when you can't get the experts to do it. WPaaS is not therefore the solution, but a technology that can be used to obtain the solution of more cyber workers. Similarly, Yahoo's move to bring everyone in house is not a solution, but an avenue that leads to the solution of a better corporate culture.
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