Jul 15 2020

The Pivot to Mass Remote Work: EPA’s Mission Overcame ‘a Little Adversity’

The agency rapidly scaled up collaboration technologies to facilitate remote work during the coronavirus crisis.

Editor's Note: This is one of a series of Q&As FedTech has conducted with government IT leaders on how they pivoted to remote work. For more entries in the series, click here.

Vaughn Noga, CIO for the Environmental Protection Agency, says that business continuity has been part of the agency’s DNA for nearly two decades, with Sept. 11 spurring an enhanced and ongoing effort to ensure operations could continue in the face of disaster. 

The EPA conducts annual business continuity exercises across the agency, evaluates the results and incorporates lessons learned into its strategy going forward. But those scenarios have typically focused on a single region or the agency’s headquarters. Until the coronavirus crisis hit, leaders had never considered a scenario affecting all of the agency’s locations. 

An existing remote work program has helped the EPA to adapt, and the agency has dramatically scaled up its use of associated technologies — for instance, quadrupling virtual private network instances within a couple of weeks. Noga discusses how the agency has supported its workers during a time of great change. 

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