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Challenges in the Federal Mobile Environment

2 Apr 2016 by Shay Moser

Mobile devices, wireless technologies and cloud-based data and application management have changed the landscape for public- and private-sector IT departments alike. The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 pushed forward on telework as a way to support recruiting and retaining a productive federal workforce. In 2012, the Digital Government Strategy further raised the bar on expectations for the federal government's employment of technology. Assimilating input from government, public and private-sector experts, it was designed to accomplish three goals:

  1. Give citizens and federal employees the ability to receive and deliver digital government information and services anywhere, anytime, on any device.
  2. Ensure the government procures and manages devices, applications and data intelligently, securely and affordably.
  3. Unlock the power of government data to spur innovation and improve services.

In an ideal world, mobility implementation would be as simple as handing out devices and letting employees connect. Particularly in the government sector, however, it's not that simple.

Challenges in the federal mobile environment

  • Security demands — Because of the valuable and sensitive information being managed, this is arguably the most pressing concern within the federal environment. In addition to being particularly susceptible to loss and theft, mobile devices and the way they're used make them an appealing access point for hackers. Moreover, 44% of the occurrences of data breaches within the public sector result from inadvertent misuse by insiders, according to Forrester's Forrsights Security Survey, Q2 2013.
  • Data proliferation — According to EMC, mobile-connected devices created 17% of all data in 2013, and that number will expand to 27% in 2020. As mobile device adoption accelerates in the public sector, data volumes will place new stresses on storage, backup and recovery systems.
  • Device-specific pressures — The demand for remote work and flex work situations are forcing agencies' hands on solutions such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Choose Your Own Device (CYOD). The popularity of iPhones is a particularly vexing challenge, since most agencies cannot roll out, manage, support or secure them at the current time.

Against that backdrop, it's important to note that one of the main drivers in changing the federal government IT environment is generational. Baby boomers are migrating out of the workforce as millennials are pouring in; meanwhile, Generation X is assuming leadership roles. The two younger generations, which were raised in a technology-centric world, will continue to push and innovate in the mobile age.

Discover a strategy for implementing and using mobile devices in the government sector — while making your employees more productive and keeping data secure by reading our whitepaper, “Exploring Your Options: Mobility on the March.”