GovBytes: Are You Using Your Work Cell Phone the Way Your Boss Intended?

Government Technology reported recently a pretty disconcerting fact: large numbers of people are using company-issued cell phones for personal reasons without having any idea what rules they’re supposed to be following to keep those devices secure.

It’s not surprising that 95 percent of companies have mobile security policies, according to a new study by online security provider McAfee and Carnegie Mellon University. What’s alarming, however, is that roughly one-third of employees surveyed had no clue as to what those policies are.

Mobile Security Policy Is Disconnected From Employee Reality

These are pretty damning survey results. As the article points out, using a work phone for personal reasons increases the chances of all sorts of bad things happening, from accidentally leaving it somewhere to accidentally sharing confidential information like PIN or credit card numbers.

I’m curious if this is as big a problem among government employees, particularly given the ubiquity of agency-issued Blackberries these days. I wonder if the government is doing a better job of protecting sensitive information and educating its workers on appropriate vs. inappropriate uses of business phones.

Do you know your agency or organization’s “mobile security” policy?


“GovBytes” is a blog series created by GovLoop in partnership with Government Technology. If you see great a story on Gov Tech and want to ask a question around it, please send it to [email protected].

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Alicia Mazzara

At my old agency, we did a lot of work to try to raise awareness of these policies through annual trainings and information campaigns. People know they are not supposed to use the Blackberries for personal use, but it’s tempting, especially if you are traveling. Another big problem is people losing their Blackberries. Not only is this costly, but people often don’t realize there’s a lot of sensitive data on the device.

Jeff Ribeira

I wonder if this is similar to how no one actually reads the “terms and agreements” when they sign up for, or download something from the internet. Just about every website has one, but who actually takes the time to read that stuff?