How to securely share files and collaborate across State and Local Government agencies.

19 July 2021 image

The need for better collaboration across Federal, State, and Local Government has never been greater. However, when it comes to sharing files and collaborating on documents together, things can get tricky. Companies often become reliant on insecure and consumer-grade file sharing apps. They also sometimes inherit legacy portal-based solutions that are difficult to use and lack the correct security required.

Government bodies need a user-friendly and collaborative file sharing solution that will not compromise on security or compliance when they are working across teams and agencies.


Increased cyber attacks

In the wake of several recent cyber-attacks on federal agencies email servers in the U.S., President Biden has signed an executive order designed to strengthen government cybersecurity defenses. He has made it a top priority for the administration to prevent, detect, assess, and remediate cyber incidents that pose a threat to national and economic security. He has also placed an emphasis on removing barriers that come with sharing threat intelligence between government and private agencies to accelerate intelligence sharing unimpeded.

The new order looks to make a major shift by moving to secure and cloud-based services, including Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

So, how do you choose the right solution when you need to collaborate across Federal, State, and Local boundaries? Here’s our short guide.


Stay away from email sharing

For many, email is the default choice for sharing files. However, email is a poor choice if you’re looking to coordinate activity across multiple stakeholders.

Within government, security is a key consideration. One of the key challenges involved in managing this complexity is a lack of shared IT infrastructure between the government agency and its private-sector partners. Strict data control and security settings often make it impossible for the private sector to access network assets inside of an agency’s firewall, which makes even the simplest of tasks unnecessarily difficult. Instead, teams find themselves resorting to a multitude of different apps to share files, manage tasks, and keep projects on track.

This not only damages productivity and delays projects, with updates buried in email inboxes and multiple versions of the same file stored across multiple locations, but it can also introduce unnecessary security risks which governments cannot afford to make.


Use a solution that meets FedRAMP standards

FedRAMP is a government-wide program that provides a standardized approach to security assessment and authorization for cloud products and services.

Tools like Dropbox make it easy to share files with anyone but are predominantly built for consumers. It’s highly unlikely to include the level of security or compliance required for government use. As Dropbox is not FedRAMP compliant, it would be unsuitable for the transfer of government documents, especially those of a sensitive nature.

Many file sharing apps lack collaborative features, such as: approval workflows, version control, and team workspaces where participants can discuss updates and the latest activity. All of which are required for efficiently producing quality documents.


Portal Sharing

A common problem throughout government agencies and businesses is the use of old portals that are hard to use and expensive to maintain. Solutions such as Microsoft SharePoint are extremely powerful tools – but they can also be extremely complex to set up correctly; making them inefficient, expensive to maintain, and difficult to use. These weaknesses often drive agencies to return to email which is insecure for file sharing and doesn’t foster coherent collaboration.


What to look for

Fortunately, it’s now simple for government agencies to find a solution to help build a modern, cloud-based method of sharing your content between departments and agencies, as well as non-government, private sector partners. The top features to look out for are:

  1. A FedRAMP approved solution – you can trust that the security is Government grade, protecting the sensitive data of agencies and individuals.
  2. A user-friendly interface – a simple web-based platform or app that is intuitive, requires minimal training, and can seamlessly integrate with other commonly used apps like Microsoft Office.
  3. An efficient software – keep your projects on track by bringing people, content, and actions together collaboratively. Make sure all your stakeholders can find exactly what they need first time and are able to give quick feedback whilst keeping an audited trail of updates.


How Huddle can help

A collaboration platform like Huddle, which is FedRAMP approved, allows users to rapidly create cloud-based Workspaces in minutes. In these private Workspaces, employees can:

  • Work together securely
  • Access important files
  • Upload and edit new content
  • Manage tasks and approvals with internal colleagues, as well as external partners (whether that be government, industry, or non-profit organizations they work with).

Huddle’s team-based permissions allow organizations to closely control what content is accessible and maintain a time-stamped audit log of activity around its content. This enables organizations and their partners to work quickly and with confidence, while also giving project managers greater transparency into how projects are progressing.