Let us transform the government workplace
DataQuest|September 2021
The government, being the largest service provider for citizens, needs to adapt to the work-from-home culture, just like the private sector

As private organisations around the world build strategies to adopt a remote working culture on a more permanent basis, the government sector cannot be left behind. In the wake of this trend, Dataquest along with Citrix hosted a webinar on ‘Enabling Secure WFH Environment for Transforming the Government Workplace for New Normal’. Kicking off the panel discussion, Anil Chopra, VP, Research and Consulting at CyberMedia Research, said that the pandemic has been catastrophic. “We hope it gets over soon and life gets back to normal. The government and PSU machineries should, however, always be on their toes. There are many citizen-centric services that need to be delivered but involve risks and challenges. This challenge can be addressed by perhaps enabling a work-from-anywhere culture.”

“The pandemic has hindered a lot of functioning,” seconded Rachna Srivastava, Deputy Director General, NIC, adding that everyone knows what the country has gone through. “We made government employees work on electronic files remotely. In any office, officials generally collaborate, discuss and make decisions, which are recorded on files. These files are automated by the Government of India departments.”

UPSCALING VPN

Srivastava highlighted that the first challenge was to upscale the entire VPN infrastructure so that people can access the network from their homes. “As we were able to scale up the VPN, people could access files, allowing continuity of the government’s business functions. Anyone working on a government file from home also needed the essential infrastructure at their home, including, at least, bandwidth in the beginning. Providing this bandwidth was a challenge during that period.

Moreover, there was a bigger limitation with regard to the usage of computers at home. We had a client-based device, and Windows updates clashed with the client side. People were not aware of how to take help while working from home. How to provide help was another challenge.

However, government employees from some sectors provided help. It is better to package a work-from-anywhere kind of a portal like that of NIC launched by our minister earlier this year. This portal was a natural progression. It includes departmental apps to see alerts, and helps in communication. With NIC’s videoconferencing solution, you can interact with team members with just a click. You can also define your own room and send messages to others.

Today, we don’t need to be present in a factory to switch on a machine. At NIC, app development happens at a huge scale. We allowed the IT task force, including testers and system admins, to continue the development of software from their home using the VPN. The onboarding of apps on the network also took place rapidly. You cannot be indifferent. And now, there is no other option. People have to be on the platform to be safe.”

EMOTIONAL ANGLE

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