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GCN : October 2014
With employees’ demand for mobility increasing year- over-year, agencies are increasingly accepting that their workforces will become fully mobile over time. The reasons are clear: Mobility enables organizations to improve access to information and can enhance the value agencies get from business applications. Most important, it may be just the thing that agencies have been waiting for to solve the problem of doing more with less—if agencies can think strategically about how to incorporate it securely and seamlessly. Agencies are working hard to keep up with demand for mobility, but it isn’t always a smooth and easy path. For example, the phenomenon of “bring your own device” (BYOD) has exploded, and agencies are working hard to determine the best way to manage the growing number of unsecured devices accessing their private networks. According to a new survey conducted by FCW and Beacon Technology Partners and sponsored by AT&T, only about one-fourth of agencies have formal BYOD initiatives today. The survey also found that employee use of BYOD in government is expected to climb from 61 percent this year to 74 percent in 2016. Agencies also are working to improve policies across the board, and have begun investigating and implementing more advanced solutions to help IT departments manage that increased demand for mobility and accessibility, while keeping security in check. The survey found that at least half already have many of the tools needed for mobile content solutions, for example, while many more are considering implementing solutions that foster mobile collaboration, conferencing and messaging. There are many areas agencies should consider when working to improve the mobility infrastructure and strategy. Based on our analysis, here are some best practices that can help agencies achieve their goals. Keeping up with Mobile Demand Adjust your mindset It is important to start thinking of mobility as an enabler and not an inhibitor. That means rethinking virtually everything: which mobile devices are acceptable for employees to use for work purposes, how to secure those devices, how to re-engineer critical Win32-based applications to work on mobile devices, and how to secure data in transit, all while constantly monitoring mobile usage and app distribution. security environment on the desktop is very controlled; employees are tethered to a device that sits behind and policies are extended beyond the wired network to out the new landscape and embrace it. Communication is critical Develop policies that are understandable and enforceable, and communicate them clearly. According to the FCW survey, more than half of agencies publish “acceptable use” policies that are regularly updated and ensure that they are easy to understand for novice or non-technical employees. Mobile-use policies are a must-have for security and manageability reasons, and if employees don’t understand how they apply to their own situations, they aren’t of much use. Train thoroughly. Today, only 26 percent of agencies require training for employees who use both agency- issued and personal mobile devices for work purposes. Without comprehensive training, even the most well- meaning employees are bound to make mistakes that could expose sensitive information. Take it slowly the answers to these questions: • Where are employees likely to be located? • What devices and operating systems should we/ can we support? • What applications do they need access to? • How can I safely give employees access to the applications they need? • How will providing access to the applications improve employees’ productivity? • How will I get critical information to employees who • How will we deal with the changes in technology and usage that are likely to occur over time? • How will we monitor employee usage of devices and apps? Questions like these will help the IT department understand the relative importance of mobility to an organization and sub-groups within it. Only then is it time to start thinking about security and policies. That’s when questions about security policies and the best way to encrypt data at rest and in motion become important. SPONSORED CONTENT
November and December 2014