When I started working in a DoD building about 15 months ago everything was fine. Sure the networks ran slowly on occasion, but it is a huge building with a lot of employees using the computer systems, slowness I could understand and deal with. For my job I use three separate computers on a KVM switch and frequently change computer through the day depending on what I am working on. For the first seven months everything was dandy, I logged into the network with a user name and password (that I had to change more frequently than I like, but again I could deal), and it would take me an average of 10-15 seconds to switch from one machine to another and log in.
But then about 8 months ago they CACed the entire system. For those of you who don’t know a CAC is a Common Access Card that (as far as I know) every DoD employee is issued that includes a microchip and magnetic bar. For a while I only used mine to get into the building and for identification as I was walking around the building, but then they changed it so that everyone needed to use their CACs to log into their computers. Now it took me closer to 30-60 seconds to switch machines because it takes a while to recognize the card and a while longer to log in. Annoying, but still manageable.
Lately it has been getting ridiculous though. Now the USB card readers that we have can take upwards of 50 or more tries (insert card, remove card, hit ‘enter’, insert card…) to even recognize the card at all plus another 5-10 minutes to log in. Today I broke my record with 2 full hours of my eight hour day spent doing nothing but trying to log into my machines. It is maddening.