By Sgt. Logan Thomas
As part of the Defense Department’s response to COVID-19, some personnel are being authorized to work from home. In addition to the teleworking memorandum of instruction published on March 15, Fort Leonard Wood’s Network Enterprise Center has additional guidance for good teleworking practices.
According to Deborah Dowling, Cybersecurity Division Chief, personnel who are teleworking need to ensure their devices are getting necessary updates.
“With the reduced manning in the offices and more employees working from home, some of the devices on the installation may not be getting the necessary patches that they may need,” Dowling said. “The NEC wants to remind personnel who are teleworking that computers can still receive necessary patches if they are connected to the Fort Leonard Wood virtual private network.”
Supervisors should make sure that computers around their office are powered on so they can receive security updates.
“As you walk around cubes and desks in your areas, turn on workstations that have been shut down,” Dowling said. “This way those devices will continue to receive necessary patches. Power saving mode will kick in to conserve energy.”
For those who are teleworking, Dowling offers some advice.
“Use your government device to perform government work,” she said. “And use government-provided applications to perform your duties – for example, use Outlook for email. Do not use commercial services that have not been authorized for use on government networks for government business.”
Additionally, individuals who are teleworking can follow guidance by the NEC to reduce the impact on Department of Defense networks.
The NEC recommends limiting the use of the telework-connected computers to essential traffic only. Examples of this are using email, accessing training and conducting mission-specific communication through applications installed on installation computers.
Dowling said that teleworkers are advised to avoid using Skype voice services or teleconferencing if a simple email will do. According to the NEC, applications will work better if users balance using the right tool for the right job.
“All levels of the Army Cyber Command, to include the Fort Leonard Wood NEC, will remain vigilant in their remediation efforts with devices that are being used for telework purposes,” Dowling said.
Anyone with more questions about how to receive updates on devices while teleworking should contact the NEC at 573.596.5022. The memorandum of instruction regarding teleworking procedures is available on the Fort Leonard Wood COVID-19 web page, at https://home.army.mil/wood/index.php/coronavirus.