DoD Cisco Collaboration Tools for Team Members Are Changing

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DISA may have provided new DOD collaboration tools to teams at a record speed, but the Commercial Virtual Remote environment (CVR) certainly caused some confusion. The pre-COVID soldier had a large mobile unit that could communicate, in-person conference rooms meetings and face-to–face mission critical discussions over hundreds more phone lines. The COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic exposed an area that had never been tested in the military or civilian workforce. Many active duty personnel and civilian base personnel were forced into remote work. Multiple collaboration tools were needed to keep the base and mission ready. The country was under attack, and it was imperative that action be taken immediately.

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Common Issues for CVR Environment User
The rapid roll-out the DOD remote work and response CVR Environment has four common problems:
AccessProduct FeaturesSecurityUsageUrgency was needed and immediate action would certainly create problems. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), deployed a temporary DoD-only deployment of Microsoft Teams, Office 365 tools, and the Commercial Virtual Remote (CVR), environment. This is part of a larger effort to increase telework capabilities across different U.S. government agencies as well as military forces.
How do I access my voicemails remotely?
One of the issues that base infrastructure teams encountered was land lines and voicemail. These messages must be forwarded by base personnel to staff at home, cell phones, or mobile devices.
Many people didn’t receive their messages after call forward was enabled. It was quickly discovered that call forwarding required two lines of phone, one for each base extension and one for each outgoing line. They didn’t have enough phones to complete this task, leaving many people without messages.
My CAC card doesn’t give me remote work access
Remote personnel were forced to use new software like Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Teams for conducting meetings. This unusual move by DoD is not common. All software is subject to strict security controls.
How to access the environment is explained in the CVR user log-on guide. There have been issues with SIPR and NIPR network connections, and the use of CAC access.
DoD employees now have access to the CVR Teams environment via Microsoft Office 365 within the Government Commercial Cloud. This allows them to chat, video, and collaborate on documents. The CVR Teams environment, unlike other DoD Teams environments, will be accessible on personal and commercial devices as well as on commercial networks. However, the department has limited what information can be shared.
Why is Microsoft Teams Limited in the CVR Environment
ComputerWorld reports that the CVR Teams will be different from other Office 365 implementations within the DoD. CVR seems to be designed to treat every device as an unmanaged one. CVR is a great introduction to Teams. However, it has limitations on the Office 365 desktop apps (Word Excel PowerPoint), that limit the ability to edit and coedit documents. The web versions are much less robust than the desktop versions.
However, the initial CVR Teams deployment will only be available for six month. After that, data within it will be permanently deleted. CVR Teams users won’t be able access other instances of Teams within the DoD network. Workers who want to access both could face some difficulties.
CVR and DoD Office will have difficulties working simultaneously in both CVR or DoD Office. This is because the Teams desktop client only allows you to log in to one tenant at once. Multi-tenant work can be difficult for even the most technical users. The Teams desktop client can only log in to one tenant at a time.
How secure is the Enterprise Cloud CVR Environment?
Although the DoD has security measures in place to protect data, Teams may raise security concerns. These concerns will be mitigated by the restrictions they have placed on file sharing (web-only), and the constraints around DoD Office 365 tenants. Security will still be maintained by users, just as with all information systems.
The DoD also offers advice to users about data protection and information sharing. Although the roll-out is larger than most IT teams will experience it, the biggest problem with the CVR Teams move, as with any large organization rapidly installing Teams, is not technical. It is not technical. It is about getting workers to use the team channels. It is important to ensure that DoD employees are ready to adapt to a new way to work that relies on communication channels rather than email. Channels can make a significant change in the way people work. If DoD workgroups continue to use Teams as they do email and instant messaging, they may lose their benefits or give up entirely.
The Good News About DOD Collaboration Tool
The good news is that the DoD workforce has been able to work remotely and has gained confidence in new tools. The military IT professionals have successfully adapted to and overcome a unique technological challenge. DoD personnel are interacting face-to-face (six feet apart) while being visible to one another. All of us are connected to collaboration tools to accomplish daily tasks.
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