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GCN : September 2014
MOBILITY 22 GCN SEPTEMBER 2014 • GCN.COM A clearer picture of state and local mo- bile might develop after this year, Roberts said, given the fact that there are over 30 elections pending at the gubernato- rial level. There'll be a better idea of what will be happening around workflows and mobility once new executive teams are in place, he said. When it comes to the kinds of mobile devices that are in demand in govern- ment, there's a clear preference right now for tablets. IDC saw that in its study of the market, with a 12 percent compound an- nual growth rate from 2012 to 2017 in the federal government, and close to 15 percent yearly increase for the same pe- riod in state and local. That's due to the greater screen real estate that tablets provide, Roberts said, compared to other devices such as smart- phones. Users need to handle the work- flow they are used to at the desktop when out in the field, he said, and something that can accommodate forms and other electronic paperwork. Organizations are also finding they can improve on that workflow in many cases with tablets. SECURITY PERCEPTIONS So far, according to Good Technology, the platform of choice for most govern- ment enterprises is Apple's iOS and the iPhone and iPad tablet that work with that operating system. IT and informa- tion security folks have become familiar with iOS, which has been a stable plat- form for years, and they understand how to secure data on those devices. Also, Roberts pointed out, there are a lot of iOS developers who can help with devel- oping custom applications, and there are a lot of iOS apps that users can simply download and use. That kind of ecosystem is not yet as mature for the Android operating sys- tem, which also suffers from a percep- tion of being less secure than iOS. Given the open source origins of Android, there are also a number of different variations of Android that are used by each manu- facturer. "Android is a wonderful platform," McCarthy said, "but there's no way that an organization can test every variation and make sure they are compatible with all of the government security require- ments." However, it's more or a less a myth that Android is less secure than iOS, Roberts said, because statistically there are no more bad things happening on Android than on Apple's operating system, but the perception persists. That could even- tually disappear as broader Android se- curity is developed, particularly the so- lution Samsung has developed with its Knox containerization technology. "We've been hearing a lot of chatter from our government customers around that," Roberts said. Samsung Knox has already been ac- credited for use in military mobile de- vices, and is certified under NIST Fed- eral Information Processing Standards. It provides a method for agency IT ad- ministrators to make sure that the ap- plications and data used and stored on an Android device are authorized for use only by the device owner. A next genera- tion version of Android, called Android L, will use various elements of the Knox security system. Samsung has been tracking the evo- lution of the government mobile space since the publication of the administra- tion's digital strategy, said Johnny Over- cast, director of government sales for Samsung Mobile. "Knox is designed to take any com- mercial off-the-shelf product that any- one can buy and enable that to be used in the government environment," he said. "It can be deployed on any of our products from the Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone all the way to our current products." Even without Samsung Knox, Android seems to be picking up speed in terms of adoption. According to Good's customer survey, total Android device activations were up 5 percent in the second quarter, to 32 percent of all activations. That was at the expense of iOS, which dropped the same amount to 67 percent of total acti- vations. Government, particularly federal agencies, may be close to moving away from discussions of security and how to manage various mobile devices, Over- cast said, and more into considering what the right devices are to help fur- ther government's mission at less cost to the taxpayer. As technologies such as Knox become ubiquitous, conversations about mobile will evolve into what those solutions are and not so much about security. That fits with the future Good Tech- nology also envisions. The drivers for mobility in the government have already switched, Roberts said, and issues such as mobile device management, which were high on the list when BYOD was a top concern, are not something most IT people are now looking at. They are re- ally trying to figure out how will they migrate email and the Microsoft Share- Point experience to mobile. "Security is a part of that, but it's also about what mix of their own apps and third-party apps they'll need," he said. "They want a rich ecosystem of apps they can use almost like Lego pieces to build workflow capabilities, and then how they can construct that 'one pane of glass' they can use to manage their entire IT estate." • The conversation has already moved away from how to deal with all of the mobile devices and apps coming into organizations. It's now more about what needs to be mobilized to help those organizations perform their missions better. --- CHRIS ROBERTS, GOOD TECHNOLOGY