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Defense Dept. rolls out Microsoft Teams to millions of remote workers


The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is deploying a temporary remote work environment based on Microsoft Teams to connect millions of workers around the world amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

The DoD has seen a surge of use on its network as staffers are forced to work remotely due to the pandemic. The increased demand led to the creation of a temporary DoD-only deployment of Teams and other Office 365 tools, dubbed the Commercial Virtual Remote (CVR) environment; it’s part of a wider effort to ramp up telework capabilities across various U.S. government agencies and military forces.

As part of this initiative, DoD employees will be able to access the CVR Teams environment via Microsoft Office 365 in the Government Commercial Cloud for chat, video and document collaboration. Unlike existing deployments of Teams in the DoD, the CVR Teams environment will be available on personal and mobile devices and on commercial networks, though the department has restricted what information can be shared.

“This is an unusual move by the DoD, where all software is subject to strict security standards,” said Larry Cannell, a research director at Gartner. 

Typically, the introduction of new features to the DoD’s version of Office 365 would be delayed months or disabled entirely because of these concerns, he said. “To mitigate the use of personal devices, all CVR content is cloud-based.”

DoD Teams CVR U.S. Defense Dept.

Rapid deployment in less than a month

Although the DoD had remote work capabilities in place already, as with many large organizations, it has faced an unprecedented surge in demand for remote access to applications in recent weeks.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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