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California Outlines Teleworker Policy

State government agencies must support telecommuters with standard and secure IT infrastructure.

California continues to take steps to improve its IT policy and implementation with a new directive to support state employees who telecommute.

California's office of the state CIO this week released a policy letter directing state agencies to implement a secure telework and remote access network for people who work in remote offices or out of their homes.

The letter outlines a standard network infrastructure -- called the Telework and Remote Access Security Standard -- that all agencies must follow to ensure that secure telecommuting infrastructure and policies are uniform across the state.

The heads of each state agency are responsible for adopting and making sure the standard requirements are met, and must certify their respective agencies' compliance with the standard, according to the letter.

They have until July 1 to submit a compliance certification form and must renew that certification each year starting Jan. 30, 2011.

The move to standardize support for teleworkers is just one of several steps California has taken in recent months to ramp up its outdated IT policies and infrastructure and make its IT system work better both for employees and residents.

In an effort to catch up to Web 2.0, the state last month embraced social networking, officially adopting the use of social media tools to promote communication and transparency for California residents.

State officials now are officially permitted to use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media sites. However, they must be trained regarding their roles, responsibilities, and security risks before they can do so, according to the state policy letter outlining how these tools can be used.

California agencies also must put their respective public relations people in charge of monitoring and managing the use of official social media sites.

In another step toward better IT systems, California's CTO last month began taking suggestions for how to improve its IT systems.

The state also is rolling out a broad data consolidation plan to eliminate legacy systems and streamline its data center operations, a strategy directed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in early February.

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