It’s Time to Go Mobile: Here’s How

GovLoop’s latest guide on mobile security serves as a resource to help agencies understand how to safely and securely adopt mobile in government. Our report includes a handful of best practices, government case studies and a mobile security cheat sheet to help educate and empower the government community.

We interviewed Wilbur Smith, ‎Systems Engineer at Brocade and below he provides two reasons why many in government have made the shift to mobile:

  • Mobile makes access to information and communication simpler and more flexible for federal workers
  • The ability to deliver new applications and capabilities to federal workers

Both of these elements are important considerations when thinking about creating a mobile government. Mobile government also ties into the important element of any IT solution – people. Often we talk about people, process and technology, and it is no different with mobile. With mobility, government employees can use the tools they are most comfortable on, become more efficient, save money, and have improved morale by working in a more effective agency.

“Although cliché, federal agencies are trying to ‘do more with less,’” Smith said. “Although the size of the government workforce has decreased over the last ten years, the scope of their responsibility has increased. In parallel to this trend, the political environment surrounding the government’s size and budgets has become more volatile”

These trends have drastically impacted the workforce. Citizens demand more solutions to move to digital, and programs have become multi-sectored and complex, and at the same time, the government workforce has suffered pay and hiring freezes. This leaves the work to be done to a smaller pool of candidates.

“The push for mobility is complimentary to the BYOD movement,” Smith explained. “By allowing an employee to use their personal devices, the initial CAPEX and continuing OPEX of equipping and maintaining agency owned mobile devices is greatly reduced. By allowing an employee to exercise their knowledge of and preference for a specific devices, the workload on IT staff is also reduced; when workers can use something they like and know, they tend to be happier and have fewer problems.”

The trends that Smith notes are important considerations, and as our guide showed, many of them are possible – but devices and mobile applications still must be centrally managed. One way to do this is by adopting a MDM solution. Our report provides many considerations of why an MDM solution is an important step to secure mobility at your agency. In our report, we present nine best practices for you to explore, but here are three that complement Smith’s thoughts.

1. Manage Mobile Applications

MDM solutions allow agencies to monitor and track mobile applications. “Another component that still is being addressed – and it also alludes to the untapped potential of mobile – is the ability to manage, monitor and securely vet applications on devices,” said Jon Johnson, Managed Mobility Director, GSA.

2. Provide Consistency in Available Services

MDM provides an infrastructure that allows agencies to quickly deploy apps and provide consistency in their mobile environment. “Our agency has hundreds of office sites, and consistency in infrastructure services available currently varies,” said a participant from a recent GovLoop survey.

3. Support All Mobile Platforms

Whether you know it or not, your employees are accessing information on their personal devices through work networks. As an IT professional, it is your duty to create a flexible and supportive work environment. This means using solutions, such as MDM, to create a mobile infrastructure supportive of your employee’s diverse needs.

The real opportunities to leverage “mobility” have not been discovered yet,” said Smith. As more solutions become available to government, it’s important to think about the human element driving adoption. Our report will be a way for you to start to think about how mobile can be a driver of innovation at your agency.

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Achieving agency missions becomes harder and more complex every minute. But with less money in the budget, many agencies are stuck between the need to deliver new services and the cost of supporting old infrastructure. To break the cycle of dependence on proprietary systems and endless service contracts, agencies need simpler, widely compatible network infrastructure that empowers IT and accelerates mission performance.

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