Teeter-Tottering Between Mobile Security and Innovation

Most playgrounds have some equipment in common: swings, monkey bars, a teeter-totter. I loved teeter-tottering, and every time I’d fly up to the sky, adrenaline would build until I’d fall back to the ground. And reaching that balance point with my teeter-totter partner was the biggest challenge.

Finding balance is an important life skill, and it is valuable in both personal and professional contexts. For government agencies, creating and developing custom mobile applications requires extra balance between securing the development process and fostering innovation.

Eugene Liderman, the Director of Public Sector Technology with Good Technology, spoke with Chris Dorobek from the DorobekINSIDER program about how mobile app technology is changing the face of government and findings from Good Technology’s quarterly Good Mobility Index Report.

For some background, Good Technology focuses on developing new innovations to deliver secure mobility solutions. The company issues the Mobility Index Report each quarter as a method to continuously analyze and track the impact of mobile apps and platforms. The report follows the evolution of different businesses as they continue adopting enterprise mobile apps. In the most recent quarterly report, the document focused on the increased use of third-party apps such as instant messaging, document access, and document editing as well as the development of custom applications. Custom-developed apps signal the growing number of companies transitioning toward mobile business processes in order to gain market advantage.

Good Technology issues the mobility report each quarter due to the constantly changing nature of the mobile arena. “If you think about new device launches and new capabilities that these devices bring, it quickly shifts these little trends,” said Liderman. “Just an example, with the iPhone 6 launching, I think our index report picked up the fact that it was the hottest device for new adoption.”

Liderman explained how the Mobility Index has morphed from initially tracking device activation and the specific devices getting greater use to how they are being used. After viewing the metrics, it was found that most people used mobile devices for document retrieval or editing. In Q3, custom application deployments rose 700 percent from the same time last year.

Liderman also emphasized the influence mobile device use is having on legislation, citing telecommuting policies to remove some of the traffic and clutter into D.C. as an example. “A lot of agencies are trying to see how they can implement tablets as a good tool for telecommuting use,” he highlighted.

Government agencies are beginning to develop their own custom applications. Despite the benefits to and growing interest in mobile app use by federal employees, there are a few roadblocks hindering a more face-paced development process for custom apps. Liderman mentioned how regulatory policies are partially responsible for why government agencies are slow to develop custom applications compared to their private industry counterparts.

Another roadblock Liderman mentioned was security. For custom application development, security is extremely pertinent, especially with the variety of contractors and methods to create new applications. The lack of consistency in development makes custom applications susceptible to hacking, but Liderman highlighted the tug-of-war between securing information and promoting innovation.

“It’s kind of like this battle between security and user experience or usability, and I visualize it as this teeter-totter,” Liderman described. And you know the market always says, “Well if the security’s really high, the user experience kind of goes down. And if the user experience is really amazing, that must mean it has very little security. And so, the big thing that we’ve always tried to push with the mobile security platform at the app level is the fact that we can kind of break that teeter-totter and let the user experience [be] really good, no pun intended, while the security’s still very high.”

Towards the end of the interview, Liderman stressed the importance of government agencies informing themselves about mobile device usage and incorporating them into their overall business operations. More importantly, agencies need to become agile in trying to implement new mobile apps and devices.

“End users are fairly savvy,” said Liderman. “You [have] to find the perfect match where you can still give [users] what they kind of want to keep the [them] satisfied and not restrict[ed] but still meet your same regulatory needs. It’s this kind of constant balancing act.”

To review Good Technology’s Q3 Mobility Index Report, click here.


Featured Image Attribution: Justin Hall

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