Facilities & Equipment
Avar possesses all the facilities and equipment required to perform the work and services in the areas of our core competencies.
Avar’s 10,000-square-feet main office is located in Rockville, Maryland, 1.5 miles away from the Shady Grove Metro Station. It contains a survey center and three conference rooms equipped with webinar and tele-/video-conferencing capabilities. One of the conference rooms can accommodate over 30 people while the other two each can accommodate over 15 people. They are designed for training and focus group studies. The premises are both key and access card restricted and are monitored 24/7 by Datawatch. Off-site data backup is available in a locked area located in Potomac, Maryland. The remote storage area keeps encrypted copies of selected backup data safe as part of the contingency plan, and is monitored by ADT Security Systems.
Avar’s 1,800-square-feet telephone survey center is equipped with 15 computer assisted telephone interview (CATI) stations using high-speed internet and industry leading professional CATI software (Blaise). It can be instantly expanded to accommodate 20 stations if needed. With a large pool of well-trained interviewers working in shifts, it is open 2–14 hours a day to conduct surveys of various sizes in both English and 10 other languages. Avar’s CATI system is able to automatically distribute samples for random digital dialing (RDD) in different time zones, conduct quality control of survey data using built-in logics, and record detailed administration data for paradata analyses.
Avar’s data center is well equipped with advanced hosting capabilities and information technologies. Our multi-platform servers run on the latest versions of Windows 2012 R2 Server Edition, Windows 2008 Data Center Edition, and Linux operating system each hosting its unique solutions. The servers feature 3.2Ghz Intel Xeon and 8-core Opteron processors, with 12GB+ memory, 1TB+ RAID5 storage, failsafe redundancy, and direct up to 100Mb of internet traffic per second over multiple concurrent internet connections. Virtual servers on Microsoft HyperX platform are available for projects requiring dynamic scaling. Backward compatibility servers running on Pentium and Phenom based system are available for legacy application support. All data are backed up automatically on a daily basis and protected by Cisco external firewall solution on top of the server’s own firewall. The web servers sport dedicated SSL certificate with 256-bit encryption for conducting Internet transactions of sensitive information with confidence. Other technologies and equipment include, but are not limited to: Comcast and Verizon business class fiber dual network, numerous high-performance desktop and laptop computers, an external fail-safe storage system for office workstation data backup, and several high-quality laser printers and copy machines.
Avar’s network facilities have been audited by Mitre Inc. and obtained Authorization to Operate (ATO) from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Information Security Certification & Accreditation (CA).
Software Suite and Production Capabilities.
Avar possesses computer software that are necessary for performing all the tasks regarding statistical analyses, data processing/management, data reporting/presentation, internet security, and accounting. These include, but are not limited to Adobe Creative Suite CC, Blaise, Microsoft SQL Server 2012, Microsoft Office Professional, SPSS 21 with Modeler, SAS v9, Microsoft Publisher, Norton Antivirus, AVG Enterprise Security Suite, Avira Server Solution, and Watchguard Security Systems. Avar also hosts multiple custom-built information systems that facilitate the finding, aggregating, and provisioning of project information and collaboration. All hardware and software receive regular tuning and upgrades by a team of in-house IT professionals to ensure the best reliability, stability, and security.
Avar’s internal workstations are connected by 256bit encrypted WPA2 networks behind firewalls. Guest networks and BYOD networks are physically separated and do not interfere with enterprise networks. Project related data are only transported via secure FTP or SSL connections. All archived project files are encrypted using SecureZIP software, a FIPS 140-2 compliant encryption tool for zipping files. All data transmissions occurring between the file server and Avar occur on Avar’s encrypted network.
Avar has current access to the University of Maryland Library System which contains over 3 million volumes of books and 52,000 journals and magazines. Its online system consists of 78 subsystems categorized by subject area.
Avar has its own in-house accounting system using Deltek. It is managed by Avar’s in-house accountants following established federal contract accounting procedures. Avar’s accounting system has been audited and certified by DCAA as meeting federal contracting requirements. It puts great emphasis on timely time entry, adequate internal controls for documentation, and supervisory approval. The system has the capability to separate unallowable cost per FAR Part 31.201-2, 6, and 31.205, label project-expense adequately for cost reimbursement, and treat direct and indirect costs consistently per FAR 31.202, FAR 31.203 and CAS 402. Up-to-date indirect cost rate is calculated based on the 3-tier model issued by the DFAS Indirect Cost Branch. A consistent estimating system is in place using current, complete, and accurate cost and pricing data. Avar has procedures in place requiring periodic management reviews of the accounting system, as well as documented formal policies and definitions. As always, Avar constantly implements required changes to comply with government regulations wherever needed.