Federal IT security challenges are unique for a variety of reasons, one of which is the rigorously structured approach the government takes to identify and respond to security threats. As a result, the federal government uses VMware Technical Account Manager (TAM) Services to both identify and help mitigate threats and deliver solutions in process-friendly ways, so they can be implemented quickly.
That’s where TAMs add a lot of value. First, TAMs deeply understand our federal customers’ needs and the processes necessary to address them. Federal TAMs understand federal security guidelines including Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS), Security Technical Implementation Guides and Checklists (STIG), mitigation through Plan of Action and Milestones (POAM), and application of hardening guidelines.
Second, TAMs have access within VMware that no customer could ever duplicate. Advocating on behalf of customers within the VMware organization is an important part of a TAM’s job. This advocacy role is yielding big security and compliance results for our federal customers. That’s because we quickly escalate important federal security and compliance issues to the right people within VMware. Plus, we make sure the resolution arrives in the most easily digestible format, be that a hotfix security patch, full software version upgrade, or something in between.
Recent Example: Smart Card Support
The federal government has been moving toward Smart Card-enabled access to all applications and infrastructure services. As a TAM for a large federal organization, I was responsible for funneling the requirements to the appropriate VMware business unit (BU), in this case the VMware vRealize Operations Manager (vROPS) team, to ensure they understood the exact STIG requirements and the ramifications of not fulfilling this need.
If Smart Card enablement was not available, the customer could be required to change passwords several times a week or fully remove the application from the network. Leveraging the strength of the TAM program, we took ownership of this issue and secured commitments from the product teams to have Smart Card support added to vROPS. This is just one example of a TAM enabling a customer to better plan for the future and mitigate their critical STIG findings. We take this same approach with all critical security issues that require VMware BU support.
Not Just for Fed Customers
This TAM advocacy role is not unique to the federal sector. It’s something all TAMs do for customers in every industry to ensure you get the results you need. Including a VMware TAM on your team will dramatically strengthen your organization’s ability to identify and meet its compliance goals in a timely fashion.
Michael Hurley joined VMware as a TAM in 2008 and has been in the Federal space for over 15 years, serving both DoD and Civilian agencies based in Atlanta, GA.