Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too: Oracle Takes Steps Toward Making BYOD Programs Widespread

The push for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs in government has been strong. In the 2012 Digital Government Strategy released by the White House, the strategy encouraged the adoption of BYOD initiatives. The report additionally provided guidance for agencies interested in making the transition away from government-issued devices. Certain agencies, such as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the MSPB have already made the switch. According to PRWeb, these agencies are providing financial incentives to employees that turn in their government devices and begin using their own. And who could blame them? The arguments for BYOD programs are significant and include reasons such as:

  • Savings for the federal government as agencies no longer have to dedicate funds toward the provision and maintenance of devices.
  • Increased employee satisfaction as they are allowed to use their own preferred devices.
  • Higher employee productivity resulting from the ability to use their devices outside of the office.

Despite these benefits, there is one major hindrance to the adoption of BYOD programs: security risks. The potential for hacking, stealing, and misusing government information increases as employees open work applications on their own laptops, tablets, and phones. A major reason for this is the lack of division between private and professional data on personal devices.

Oracle, however, is taking steps toward mitigating these risks and allowing government employees to use their own devices for work without jeopardizing the security of their data. The company recently acquired Bitzer Mobile, a 999-day old startup that has developed a way to separate and secure work programs from personal ones on smartphones. As TechCrunch reports, Bitzer’s technology creates a protected space for work programs that the user can access and then exit to enjoy personal applications.

With Bitzer Mobile, Oracle aims to gain a competitive advantage in the BYOD service market, offering new technology that will enable more government agencies to implement successful BYOD programs. Though the details of the deal have yet to be revealed, Oracle’s incorporation of Bitzer Mobile is strategic. Moreover, the new partnership is promising in that it increases the likelihood that in the near future, when a BYOD government program is suggested for mobile devices, feds will be able to have their personal device and secure it too.

Oracle offers an optimized and fully integrated stack of business hardware and software systems that help organizations overcome complexity and unleash innovation. Check out their Optimize with Oracle group on GovLoop as well as the Technology Sub-Community, of which they are a council member.

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David B. Grinberg

Awesome post, Sharon. I would just note a couple of other major roadblocks to more universal adoption of BYOD

1) Cost: agencies should pay the user costs for all official gov business conducted via BYOD by gov workers.

2) Digital Divide: not all gov employees may be able to afford a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device. Others may be reluctant to use new mobile/digital resources. Therefore, agencies should consider providing subsidies for employees to purchase such devices who many not otherwise be able to for financial reasons (ie. lower grade level feds who perform laborious administrative duties which can be expedited and done more efficiently via BYOD).