Microsoft FutureFed: Is there another option for Obama when it comes to mobile e-mail?

There has been a fair amount of speculation around whether or not President-elect Obama will choose to (or even be able to) use a mobile device, as he’s accustomed to doing, once he takes the oath of office.

As we saw during his campaign, traditional ways of getting things done will likely be challenged and questioned by this new administration – and with good reason. The incoming leadership will take a fresh look at assumptions and instead of saying “it’s always been done this way” will say “why not try something new?” or “why can’t we change the paradigm?”

That’s why I think it’s prime time for the President-elect Obama to take a look at a new device that is not just loaded with basic security, but with NSA-approved security.

I suggest that he and his team look at a device developed to meet the highest level security needs while delivering unmatched performance. What is this device? The NSA Secure Mobile Environment Portable Electronic Device (SME-PED). Because the SME-PED was explicitly designed to act as a classified-information-friendly replacement for a BlackBerry, it should be an easy switch for the President elect.

Now we know the documentation of PDA communications is another hurdle the Office of the President will need to confront should he demand the use of a daily device. However, if the archivists will work with the President’s office to manage the issues surrounding documentation of all of the trails of communication (which are official presidential records), then no real barrier remains. The secure location issue is solved through the use of an American-developed SME PED type of device.

At Microsoft, we have a long history of working closely with the government as a trusted advisor to produce relatively low-cost “GOTS” (Government Off-The-Shelf) devices. Mobile initiatives such as the SME-PEDS – and all the devices yet to come – are extensions of the work we have done on the desktop and other mission-critical applications that are used around the world.

It makes sense to adapt the same secure approaches to small form factors. Not a bad option for our next President, who will definitely want his gadgets, yet will need them to have the highest security.

Do you think President-elect Obama should be allowed to use a mobile device for email communications?

Randy Siegel is a Microsoft Federal Enterprise Mobility Strategist

To read this post, and others, check out the Microsoft FutureFed blog.

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