USDA CIO Gary Washington on leveraging modernization during COVID-19

“Department of Agriculture (USDA) CIO Gary Washington is crediting the agency’s modernization efforts for smooth service delivery and mass telework during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he’s also saying that the agency isn’t slowing down its transformation efforts as it looks toward a post-pandemic future.”

“Washington listed several modernization efforts, such as security operations consolidation and smarter methods for patching and maintaining devices, that the agency embraced in the lead up to the pandemic.”

“’The security operations consolidation was a success,’ he said at the October 6 FCW IT Modernization Summit, ‘and it allowed us to have more insight into how we can be stronger in our cybersecurity posture during remote work.’ The end user consolidation activities were also an effort to improve security of the agency’s network environment, he added.”

“USDA, according to the CIO, also embraced committing to hardware purchases through blanket purchase agreements and promoting application rationalization in its modernization journey. Washington said that the blanket purchase agreements allowed USDA to efficiently and consistently get hardware and software necessary for telework to employees across the country and application rationalization streamlined a move to the cloud.”

“While these efforts set USDA up for success during the pandemic, Washington said that the agency still has a way to go, namely in cybersecurity where he said the agency needs to be more vigilant…” Read the full article here.

Source: Modernization Fueled USDA Telework, CIO Says Agency Isn’t Slowing Down – By Katie Malone, October 6, 2020. MeriTalk.

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