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Technology Makes Telework Feasible

By Aliah D. Wright   10/28/2010
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Lockheed Martin bills IronClad as a "secure, portable PC on a Stick."

Technological advances have made telework far easier than in the past, experts say.

Those advances include applications and devices that make working securely less disheartening.

Lockheed Martin recently unveiled IronClad, which it bills as a secure, portable “PC on a Stick.” Essentially it is a thumb drive that has an employee’s desktop image burned onto Ironclad’s USB drives. Instead of working on their computers in the office, employees place the thumb drive into a USB port on a remote computer and it reveals their files and work documents. They work off the 256-bit encrypted thumb drive. IT can monitor the status of each device, set detailed security policies and decide what applications can and can’t be run on each device. If the device is lost, stolen, or someone tries to hack it, the drive sends a signal back to IT and it can be erased.

“When you boot up an IronClad, your customized desktop is ready for use,” Matt Kramer, manager of communications for Lockheed Martin IS&GS-Security, told SHRM Online. “That means your familiar file structure, applications and bookmarks are all there for your use. With your familiar desktop and full complement of tools and apps, you can be just as productive at home as you are in the office.”

Check Point Abra works the same way, turning a PC into a customized desktop environment. Becrypt offers similar devices.

Cisco has long provided virtual private networks and voice-over-Internet-protocol (VOIP) solutions for employees to recreate their office resources at their homes or other Internet-connected locations using laptops or other network-accessible devices. Routers with Cisco security features are given to employees who work remotely. Cisco states that using their routers significantly reduces the risk of security breaches, the abuse of network privileges, and the spread of malware.

Adobe has a suite of products teleworkers can utilize, such as Adobe Connect, Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash Player, and Acrobat Connect Pro, which allows employees to use screen sharing, chat functions, notes, audio and video to conduct meetings online. Adobe’s LiveCycle Rights Management software enables agencies to apply security policies that can set time limits and specify who can see specific documents, and what activities they can engage in while working. In addition, LiveCycle audits usage and allows authors to update security policies, even after a document has been distributed.

Aliah D. Wright is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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