Rivera Group Develops FISMA Compliant Databases for USAID

The Challenge

USAID needed help managing its databases for TraiNet and USAID Visa Compliance System (VCS) training programs, which handle millions of foreign nationals each year, providing them with training in their home countries. The data management for this effort is massive and must comply with evolving FISMA and regulations.

  • TraiNet collects, stores and reports data on all USAID training, which is conducted across 85 missions globally. It is also the point of entry for all required data for the J-1 visa application process. TraiNet maintains data used in reporting for Congress, State Department, Department of Homeland Security and many other agencies.
  • VCS manages data that leads to the issuance of the DS 2019 form used as an application for more than 4,000 J-1 visas issued each year. VCS also permits USAID to monitor and track the entry into and out of the U.S., leaving an audit trail for each exchange visitor.

The services required for successful execution of this project include:

  • Daily management and help desk support
  • Database management
  • Training
  • Application support
  • Support services


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The Solution

Rivera Group's Enterprise Data Management (EDM) teams quickly and successfully executed the transfer of all applications and data with minimal service interruption. From there, our developers worked with USAID to upgrade the systems from their existing configuration to greatly improve the system's stability and security. This included the implementation of a Configuration Management Plan for the system that formalized bug reporting and system update procedures and improved performance significantly. 

Rivera Group provided ongoing system monitoring, data reporting, and data analysis to ensure compliance with USAID policy, offering valuable insight into the agency's training budgets, activities and results.

Rivera Group negotiated an interconnection agreement with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS) and established an SSL-encrypted connection between SEVIS and VCS, allowing VCS to automate the J-1 visa application process and reduce the amount of paperwork for USAID employees.

Additional Program Support
Rivera Group provided 24/7 reliability to a system with over 2,800 active users worldwide. We continue to provide secure hosting, system updates, and continuous helpdesk support to users through a ticketed tracking system. Additionally, we designed and implemented custom live and web-based training programs for USAID staff and local partners, as well as on-site support in Washington, DC, and missions in Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.


Rivera Group's performance consistently exceeded USAID's expectations. 'Thanks to Rivera Group, the TraiNet database is fully compliant with Federal regulations, and we have an 'Authority to Operate' from the CIO,' said one assessor. 'We could not have attained the ATO without Rivera Group's direct assistance and collaboration.'

Other comments included the following:

  • Quality: 'Rivera Group has managed this award with a great deal of care to detail. This award was not an easy task. Rivera had to work with ever-changing tasks because of a FISMA audit that required several modifications to enable the work to be completed on time and within budget.'
  • Schedule: 'Rivera Group managed multiple changes to this award with no impact to the actual work of the training team. Their staff was able to shift directions when needed.' 
  • Cost Control: 'They managed to perform every function on time and within budget. Because of special database audits, Rivera needed to change course quickly to address CIO requirements and one major Homeland Security update. We used every penny…and they vouchered every penny.'
  • Management: 'We relied heavily on Rivera Group to handle the new Federal FISMA laws. They were always there for us, and their knowledge and expertise was evident as we moved forward to request additional funds for the system.'

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