Monday, December 27, 2010

Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice Saving Time and Man-Hours With VIA3

The Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) has been using VIA3 to process after-hours intakes since the fall of 2009. VIA3 allows DJJ to complete intakes across the Commonwealth of Virginia with the ability to sign documents back and forth. The After-hours Video Intake program is based in the 9th District Court Service Unit and it currently processes delinquent intakes for 23 out of 35 Court Service Units, which covers 10493 localities weeknights, weekends and holidays.

After-hours Video Intake was created as a way to save probation officers from having to go out in the middle of the night to complete an intake after working their normal business hours. During the year 2009, After-hours Video Intake saved probation officers 27,124 roundtrip miles and 1,534.6 hours of processing and travel time to complete an intake. VIA3 provides Court Service Units, which covers multiple jurisdictions, the ability to provide intake coverage to their branch offices when needed. Parole officers are utilizing VIA3 to save travel time when visiting their clients at Juvenile Correctional Centers (JCC) and Halfway Houses. VIA3 also allows family members, who may have transportation difficulties, to continue to have contact with their child, who is committed to a JCC.

On September 7, 2010 The Honorable Bill Bolling, Lieutenant Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia, and Jim Duffey, Secretary of Technology, presented the award winning projects and business solutions of the 30 honorees of the 2010 Governor’s Technology Awards at a special ceremony which convened COVITS (www.covits.org). DJJ received Honorable Mention in the category, “IT as Efficiency Driver” for its Web-based After-hours Video Intake program using VIA3.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Obama Signs Telework Bill (Finally!)

A law signed by President Obama Thursday afternoon means many employees in the D.C. area will have more opportunities to work from home.

The Telework Enhancement Act was spearheaded by area congressmen Gerry Connolly (D-VA), John Sarbanes (D-MD) and Frank Wolf (R-VA). It requires federal agencies to develop more robust telework plans.

For example, every federal agency now must designate a telework managing officer to oversee its telework program.

Telework also now has to be part of an agency's contingency plan for emergency or weather situations. The practice reportedly saved the government millions of dollars during last winter's snowstorms.

Lawmakers also say this could be a way to get a lot of cars off D.C. area roadways, improving the commute for everyone.

Teleworkers wanting to try a FIPS 140-2 Certified Secure Web Conferencing Telework software, can download the free trial at http://www.via3.com/.

Monday, December 6, 2010

FIPS 140-2 Level 1 CERTIFIED Web-Based Video Conferencing Is Here!

A FIPS 140-2, Level 1 CERTIFIED web-based video conferencing tool is available for use with a laptop or a desktop, with a simple webcam, and can be used anywhere in the world? Absolutely!

There are so many web-based conferencing vendors entering the field today, that it is becoming more and more difficult to determine what differentiates one from the rest of the pack.

Security should be at the very core of the selection of any video conferencing system. As with any installation that requires some level of security, you can easily begin your search by choosing from products that have met the strict standards set forth by NIST for FIPS 140-2, Level 1 Certification. If a vendor has not done so, they will talk a great deal about their Compliance to the FIPS standards and attempt to assure you that this is "good enough" for your organization.

Some of the assurances will revolve around security passwords and privileges based on the role(s) of a presenter and/or attendee(s). Others will revolve around the use of 128 Bit SSL encryption. In truth, this alone, does not provide true end-to-end encryption. SSL takes the user’s web browser and creates a secure line of communication to the web conference vendor’s web server, thus using SSL to verify the log-on credentials, only. Once the user has been verified, communication should then be accepted by the vendor’s own software to begin its own transmission of data at 1024 Bit AES Encryption.

The real question then becomes whether or not compliance, versus actual certification, meets the standards of your organization. Additionally, if compliance is acceptable today, are you prepared to switch out your web conferencing vendor, if your organization/client eventually requires a FIPS 140-2, Level 1 CERTIFIED web conferencing tool? Will you have the manpower and the budget to support that effort?

If a web-based conferencing tool is available that has met the FIPS stringent requirements for CERTIFICATION, is highly affordable with unlimited usage per month, feature rich, and is easily installed with a single download.....why not give that product your most serious consideration?

BTW, Some vendors provide end-to-end security only on certain products in their family of products, such as their “on premises” solution. Regardless of how long your current web based conferencing system has been in place, it pays to continue to probe your vendor about the security of the product you actually have installed in your organization!

(Reprinted from http://www.govloop.com/)