The growth of mobile, tablet and smartphone markets are changing the federal agencies workplace. With the need to access government information anywhere, anytime and on any device. Federal agencies are waiting on guidance from the White House on whether they should reimburse employees who bring-your-own-device (BYOD) to work.
BYOD policies have not been established to determine the legal, financial and privacy implications according to the Federal Chief Information Officers Council report. The most significant issue from the report is how to keep the government data encrypted. When a smartphone or tablet is used data can be still be traced if data is not encrypted.
The Report also highlights various gaps that need to be address to enable more effective use of mobile technologies and meet government missions: Security and Privacy, Policy and Legal, Application and Infrastructure. In addition, key several key areas require attention: Mobile Device Management, Application Services, Identity Access Management, Improved Governance and Standards.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is one of the first Federal agencies to implement a BYOD pilot. Employees agreed to have their own BlackBerry devices wipe clean of government emails and data if the smartphone is lost or stolen. Because of BYOD, the EEOC’s FY2012 IT budget was cut from $17.6 million to $15 million, nearly a 15% reduction. Mobile devices provide voice, email and calendar functionality which presents opportunities for federal agency employees to deliver information and services to customers, partners and the public and improve the agency’s mission.
As a software consultant working in the business world and currently working on a federal government contract using your own mobile device is limited. I have never accessed a federal government network with my own devices but due to massive delay in background clearances personal devices have been used to manage Word or project documents. However, I can see government employees having the convenience of using their own devices which makes the federal agencies look flexible and an attractive employer.
Now the data breaches can be costly meaning the millions even if the laptop is a government issued. if a federal employee uses a smartphone to access the government network and then loses that phone, the confidential data stored on the phone could be retrieved by untrusted parties. Federal employees should protect their devices with a password, and government agencies should have protocols on remotely wiping a device. BYOD phones and tablets should have apps installed that allow for a remote wipe, or should be Cloud enabled to prevent the loss of data. Remote data will work only if the device is turned on.
A BOYD federal government policy can take many different forms. Some agencies will cut back on government-issued PCs and laptops, instead giving employees a stipend to purchase and maintain technology equipment of their choosing. And more commonly, however, federal agencies will agree to support personal mobile devices -- at least to some degree -- in addition to government-issued equipment. The rules in a BYOD policy often vary depending on a user’s role in the organization, his or her specific device, application requirements and other factors.
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