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Peering into the BYOD Crystal Ball

GovLoop’s Chris Dorobek hosted a special live edition of the DorobekINSIDER. The hot topic of the day was BYOD and we gathered an excellent group of professionals to share their expertise on our panel. (Click here for the full recap.)

We were joined by Kimberly Hancher, Chief Information Officer, Office of Information Technology (OIT), EEOC, David Yang, Vice President at Digital Management, Shawn McCarthy, Research Director, IDC Government, Steve Cooper, Former acting Assistant Administrator for Information Services and CIO at the FAA, and our own Senior Research Analyst, Patrick Fiorenza.

“The thing I’m so impressed with is this group. These aren’t people who just sit back and say ‘oh, we don’t have money’; they’re out there trying to new things and figure they have to get it done in a safe way and looking at the risk but figuring out how to do something new. They’re not trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, it’s wonderful to hear.”-Chris Dorobek

We asked them what important lessons they had learned in their experience with implementing a BYOD policy, and what they thought the future of BYOD would hold.

Major Takeaways
The general consensus was that successful BYOD implementation came from pilot programs; “You can’t have success without a structured pilot and clear objectives that are measurable, “ says David Yang. Being able to see a full fledge BYOD policy in action is the only way that information technology personnel, HR representatives, and legal counsel can see the potential problems as well as what actually works. That being said, it is important to recognize such programs for what they are: pilots. Agencies should “take it slow,” says Kimberly Hancher, “and measure at each phase and collect information to inform the next step.” They should not expect to begin a BYOD policy and have it instantly work to fit their own specific needs; The change must be incremental.

Future of BYOD

As far as the future of BYOD goes, things are looking up. “I absolutely believe this will be successful and that we’re sitting on a wave and there will be a game changer moving us forward,” says Steve Cooper. The question is not about whether BYOD will be a successful move for agencies, but how that success will be achieved. Shawn McCarthy believes that better risk management tools will be the next major step for BYOD implementation; “It’s a personal device, it’s not a government device but its used for government. Being able to manage that risk is going to important.” One way of managing that risk is by partitioning the device so that agency data is separate from personal information, which would assumed to be implemented by the agency itself. Other risk management tools, however, may be designed outside of the agency. Cooper suggests that the “burden and risk will be on the employee and the vendor community,” freeing up IT departments to focus on securing agency networks and cloud platforms. The question of where the burden of monetary compensation for BYOD followers falls is up for debate. Will it be in the form of a reimbursement or a “negotiation for better discounts for federal employees by service providers,” asks Hancher.

The panel closed with Pat Fiorenza providing his own lessons learned, which agrees with many of the topics discussed by the other panelists. They are listed below:

  1. We must recognized that “BYOD is a productivity tool,” and the burden must shift from IT departments to end users.
  2. Agencies need to know what users want in order to create the most suitable BYOD program.
  3. Agencies should develop communities of practice by starting small and testing tactics with pilots.
  4. Data collection is an extremely important part of piloting programs in order to make improvements in order to optimize plans and “[enable] a modern style of government.
  5. Security, of course, is the key word in BYOD. There must be some clear lines drawn when it comes to data ownership policies.

For the Full Hour Long Panel Click: DorobekINSIDER Live

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