FTC overhauls its IT network

Wednesday - 8/31/2011, 3:22pm EDT

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

The Federal Trade Commission is doing more than simply updating its technology infrastructure. Jeff Huskey, FTC's chief information officer, is going back to the basics by improving its enterprise architecture and using it to lay the path for change.

"The agency has seen what we've been doing for the last year and they like it a lot," Huskey said. "We are going to expand it as we go forward in the future. We are shoring up and adding additional security layers to our secure access for employees. It's our virtual private network that we create when people want to work remotely. We are looking at doing remote operations shortly, and by that I mean we are going to deploy telework for the agency."

He said FTC already promotes telework, but through the latest initiative the agency's network will support at least 600 users at once.

The work on the enterprise architecture, or modernization blueprint, will make nine major business applications enterprisewide and take them out of their specific silos. Huskey said this will let employees pull data from a centralized data warehouse.

"[T]o deliver a typical report an individual would have to go three separate systems, gather those reports, put them in a spreadsheet and send it to the boss," he said. "Now that report is done automatically in our enterprise data warehouse so you double click and you have the report you are looking for."

He said his office moved six of the applications to the data warehouse and plans on moving the other three in the coming months.

"We went to some of the leadership and asked, ‘What is it that you need to be answered on a weekly or daily basis that you're now having your staff spend hours cranking up?'" Huskey said. "We took those questions and put them into our technology concept and those are the answers we are using for our enterprise proof of concept. Everyone who has seen it really liked it a lot."

All of this is part of the re-architecture to shore up the FTC's network to make it faster, more efficient and deploy storage and computing power on-demand.

Huskey, who has been CIO since March and spent much of his career working for the military, plans on issuing several request for information or request for proposals in the coming months to push this initiative forward.

The FTC will issue a request for information to do a mobile pilot with BlackBerry products.

Huskey said the FTC is considering how it can get information to employees through a tablet or other device safely and efficiently.

The FTC also will issue two requests for proposals: one email-as-a-service and one to run the Do Not Call registry.

Huskey said the email-as-a-service implementation will be in four phases, starting with disaster recovery and then moving to a small pilot in the executives in the agency.

Huskey said the Do Not Call Registry RFP will be for security service among other functions to protect the data on the site. He said FTC issued an RFI in July.

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