While the COVID-19 pandemic has had wide-ranging effects on the Federal workforce, one positive impact has been to boost the efficiency of Federal agency employees in how they approach their day-to-day duties, said Bryan Ware, Assistant Director for Cybersecurity at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
Speaking today at the Billington CyberSecurity Summit event, Ware said that requirement for many Federal employees to work remotely has removed the distracting elements of working in an office, and streamlined work processes as a result.
“I think some of the things that that have led to efficiencies aren’t all that technology oriented – in my view – so one of the things is that it’s forced us to focus a bit more,” Ware said. “Maybe we can’t do all of the things, so we focus on the most important things, we focus our dialogue on the most important things. And that also translates into to process improvements.”
These process changes, Ware said, include having scheduled virtual meetings, and improving communications because there are no longer opportunities for ad hoc systems of communication in office settings.
“The process changes that we’ve done at least are that we’ve documented things a bit better, we prepare for meetings better, we’ve written things that we might have just communicated verbally,” Ware said. “It feels like when you’re a high-tempo organization . . . the writing of things takes longer than the speaking of things, but they endure more and they proliferate better, and they’ve been communicated to our staff in a way that they can review them.”
Going forward, Ware said he foresees CISA shifting away from needing employees working in one or a few places because of a reliance on classified information. The agency will be able to hire people who don’t live near CISA facilities, and employees won’t necessarily need top security clearance if they don’t work with top secret material.