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CIOs seek more guidance to support rollout of mobile devices

Dec. 13, 2012 - 01:35PM   |  
By NICOLE BLAKE JOHNSON   |   Comments
In a 12-page report released Tuesday, the federal Chief Information Officers Council calls for better guidance and other steps that would help them roll out smart mobile devices.
In a 12-page report released Tuesday, the federal Chief Information Officers Council calls for better guidance and other steps that would help them roll out smart mobile devices. (AFP / Getty Images)

Federal information technology executives say they want to equip more employees with smartphones and tablet computers.

But often they are slowed down by a lack of guidance from the administration on how to handle the tricky legal, privacy and financial implications of doing that.

In a 12-page report released Tuesday, the federal Chief Information Officers Council calls for better guidance and other steps that would help them roll out smart mobile devices.

“While agencies are already adopting Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) or similar policies within their organizations … many agencies expressed concerns regarding the legal, privacy, and financial policies that need to be developed to support use of these new approaches,” the report said.

“Furthermore, they identified a need for guidance on the use of mobile devices in general, and specific guidance and decisions on BYOD reimbursement policies when government work is performed using the device.”

The report, called “Government Use of Mobile Technology: Barriers, Opportunities and Gap Analysis” was required under the federal Digital Strategy released in May. The report was based on interviews with 21 agencies regarding their use of mobile technology, and the findings will be used to speed adoption of mobile devices within government.

The Office of Management and Budget released BYOD guidance in October, which was a toolkit of sample documents for developing BYOD policy, case studies of successful programs and things to consider before launching a program.

But agencies want more.

The report recommends several steps be taken to accelerate adoption of BYOD and newer commercial devices across government:

• Establish a cross-functional team to evaluate the technical, legal, privacy and other factors associated with the use of employees’ personal devices. “Waiting for legal precedence on these topics is resulting in agencies accepting increased risk,” according to the report.

• Develop a governmentwide or agency policy and guidance to support more flexible use of commercial mobile devices, and develop an acquisition strategy for procurement of mobile technologies that comply with government policy, emerging standards and requirements.

• Continue development of requirements and recommendations to enable the use of strong two-factor authentication on mobile devices. This requires users to provide two forms of evidence, such as a password and personal identity card, to verify who they are before accessing data or applications on a device. Agencies also want more options for strong data encryption on mobile devices.

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