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GCN : July 2013
Sponsored Report The enthusiasm for mobile tech- nology in government agen- cies continues to be tempered by long-standing concerns about the security rami cations, according to a survey conducted by the 1105 Government Information Group. More than half of respondents (53 percent) said security concerns continued to hamper more wide- spread use of mobile solutions, the survey shows (see chart). And 62 percent agreed that security con- cerns are slowing the adoption of mobile technology, compared to 25 percent who were neutral and only 13 percent who disagreed. The most pressing concern is the threat of malware, malicious code that users often download unknow- ingly when visiting commercial Web sites, downloading apps or opening e-mail from unknown recipients. Other cyber threats include inade- quate user authentication, malicious text or SMS messages and device loss or theft (see chart). The results echo concerns ex- pressed by watchdog groups across government, including the Govern- ment Accountability Of ce, the CIO Council and the Defense Depart- ment s inspector general. By and large, experts say vulner- abilities in mobile solutions can be addressed by putting the proper security controls in place. Unfor- tunately, both agency IT staff and individual users are not always diligent about implementing and maintaining those controls. That s what auditors at GAO found when they examined the state of mobile security in the public and private sectors in 2012. Although many smartphones and other mobile devices come with security features, typically they must be turned on by the IT staff or by the user, GAO found. Too often, that never happens. For example, in a recent report the Defense Department s inspec- tor general found that Army of- cials were not providing adequate oversight of the more than 14,000 commercial mobile devices (CMDs) that the service had purchased. One problem was that Army of cials had concluded that the devices were not connecting to Army networks or storing sensitive information and so did not need to comply with standard information assurance (IA) requirements. "Without an effective cyberse- curity program speci c to CMDs, critical IA controls necessary to safeguard the devices were not applied, and the Army increased its risk of cybersecurity attacks and leakage of sensitive information," the IG report states. But even the best security pro- grams will not be effective without the cooperation of individual users. With that in mind, most agencies have established "acceptable use" policies that spell out what users can and cannot do with their devices. However, the 1105 Government Information Group survey sug- gests that such policies are often disregarded. Fifty-one percent of respondents indicated that their co-workers rarely or never abide by the policy, while another 21 percent occasionally do. Only 28 percent almost always comply. FULL REPORT ONLINE, Go to www.gcn.com/2013MobilityTrends Agencies remain cautious about BYOD Mobility expands workday boundaries Nomadic employees leverage mobile tech Don't let mobile apps be a weak link Public Sector Mobility Research Report Articles TRENDS & TECHNOLOGIES DRIVING PUBLIC SECTOR MOBILITY Mobility demands diligence on security % of respondents identifying each factor as hampering federal mobility initiatives Source: 1105 Government Information Group Research Study PUTTING THE BRAKES ON MOBILITY SECURITY CONCERNS................................................................. 53% REQUIREMENT FOR PHYSICAL PRESENCE AT WORK............. 49% NEGATIVE PERCEPTION OF EMPLOYEES NOT IN OFFICE....... 37% AGENCY "CULTURE," E.G., MULTIPLE ON-SITE MEETINGS..... 37% COST OF BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE FOR MOBILITY .......... 28% LACK OF MATURE OR CERTIFIED MOBILE SOLUTIONS .......... 21% DIFFICULT TO SUPPORT REMOTE EMPLOYEES....................... 17%