In a follow up report to the Digital Government Strategy, the Federal CIO Council conducted a survey and interviewed 21 agencies on their use of mobile technologies. The “Report on Barriers, Gaps, and Opportunities for Government Use of Mobile Technology” addresses Milestone Action 10.2 of the Digital Government Strategy which aims to “evaluate opportunities to accelerate the secure adoption of mobile technologies into the Federal environment at reduced cost.”
The results offer insight into three key considerations for the use of mobile technologies: opportunities and barriers; gaps; and risks, threats, and vulnerabilities. Keep reading →
My perspective on the outlook for cyber initiatives is quite different heading into the New Year than in past years.
While there are always budgetary uncertainties and looming cuts in government IT spending, this year, we face an unprecedented financial uncertainty as our nation stands on the edge of a fiscal cliff. That will impact not only the resources we have to invest in technology, but how people work and live. Keep reading →
Reps. Darrell Issa and Gerry Connolly say federal IT mismanagement has not only cost taxpayers billions, but has a dire effect on the economy.
The two congressmen with a history of butting heads agree sweeping federal IT reforms and giving CIOs budget authority would fix the problem. They talked about why on a stage in the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. on Monday. Keep reading →
It’s easy to take all the comforts of our modern lives for granted. Cars are basically parking themselves these days, and Wi-Fi on airplanes allows us to watch our favorite shows as we zip across the country in a matter of hours. Mobile devices can talk to and interact with us like humans – not to mention letting us securely accomplish our work from anywhere and at any time.
We sometimes forget that things haven’t always been this way. December 17 marks the 10-year anniversary of the E-Government Act of 2002 – America’s first step toward a modernized and accessible IT infrastructure.
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The Department of Veterans Affairs will stand up a series of internal and external mobile apps in January to deliver veterans programs and help employees do a better job of delivering benefits.
Up to 100,000 employees handling patients’ clinical information and veteran’s benefits eventually will be able to access the mobile apps to manage records while moving around units and facilities, VA CIO Roger Baker said, easing and streamlining processes and eliminating delays that have often characterized the VA’s handling of benefits. In addition, mobile apps for veterans will offer easy access to benefits and claim status. Keep reading →
Mobile device management software is helping federal, state and local governments to keep track of employee handheld devices. But as agency programs grow in size, new challenges such as technology life cycle and migration are beginning to surface. To address these issues, organizations are taking a number of approaches designed to meet their specific needs.
NASA straddles the line between device and data management policies. Unlike defense and intelligence agencies, NASA is an “open organization” founded to share its data with the public, said Adrian Gardner, chief information officer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center at the Symantec Government Symposium. Keep reading →
Although federal spending doesn’t offer clear data on mobile technology in government, it does demonstrate growth — but new, ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) policies could throw a wrench into prediction models. A wrench that might point to potential opportunities for government IT contractors.
Since dependable information resources such as the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) don’t track specific growth in the mobile sector, we had to use a few other ways to answer our questions about how mobile is the federal government today. Keep reading →
Three years ago, the satirical news site, The Onion, published a story titled “Report: 90% Of Waking Hours Spent Staring At Glowing Rectangles.”
One early paragraph reads:
Researchers were able to identify nearly 30 varieties of glowing rectangles that play some role throughout the course of each day. Among them: handheld rectangles, music-playing rectangles, mobile communication rectangles, personal work rectangles, and bright alarm cubes, which emit a high-pitched reminder that it’s time to rise from one’s bed and move toward the rectangles in one’s kitchen.
This is the third in a five-part series examining the issues that governments and organizations need to address in the absence of a BYOD policy, originally published by the IBM Center for the Business of Government. For more news and insights on innovations at work in government, please sign up for the AOL Gov newsletter. For the quickest updates, like us on Facebook.
Though the article clearly has a mocking tone, there is a clear reason for interacting as we do with those glowing rectangles: some are merely the technological membrane through which we interact with other people, while others are the entry-ways to the technological world in which we create or consume media of all kinds, from music and videos to personal and professional email and documents.
The Benefits of Connecting
There are numerous reasons that employees may want to connect their personal devices (BYOD) to their work computers or office networks. First, if space is an issue on their hard drives, they can play music from their MP3 players (there is debate about music’s impact on productivity). Even if the issue is not space, but rather simply installing personal applications and/or data on a work machine, connecting an external player may be seen as a good work-around.
Second, personal devices run out of power and many can recharge through USB cables. Outlet space is often limited, especially in cubicles, which now comprise 70% of office spaces according to one report. In those circumstances, it seems logical to charge devices in series rather than in parallel.
Finally, and perhaps most persuasively, work is rarely confined to a single machine and the small devices people take with them everywhere are the perfect, and sometimes preferred media for storing documents that will be edited on multiple machines. And why not? Windows phones, iPhones, and Android phones all carry gigabytes of space that are available for those large PowerPoint presentations and image files that no one wants to send through email.
The Dangers of Connecting and How to Minimize Them
There are three main perils of connecting personal devices to work computers and networks. The primary concerns, of course, are malware and spyware. These twin dangers become more apparent whenever new viruses are discovered on Android phones, or the full implications of iPhone apps are realized.
Of secondary, but not insignificant, concern is that employees could use their personal devices to skirt the spirit of the official use-policy, if not its letter. For example, sites that place a toll on an organization’s bandwidth-Pandora, for example, or YouTube-may be blocked on workstations, but employees could run similar apps from their phones-Spotify and/or Amazon Prime Videos.
> Finally, there is simply the productivity issue. Do the media and applications that personal devices bring into the workplace ultimately boost, depress, or have no impact on productivity?
As with accessing work data, there are three ways that organizations can regulate connecting personal devices to work assets.
First, organizations can ban the practice entirely. Second, they can use technological filters, for example by requiring any device to have security enable before it can connect to a network or computer. Third, organizations can have only policy filters in place.
The most important point, however, is that the leadership addresses this issue in their mobile device use-policy and that all employees understand the risks in connecting their devices to work computers and networks.
Gadi Ben-Yehuda (Twitter: @GBYehuda) is Director for Innovation and Social Media at the IBM Center for the Business of Government.Keep reading →