Is BYOD Really the Future of Mobile Devices for Government?
Mobility isn’t a trend as much as a revolution. And not only are users demanding more functionality and easier access to agency resources through mobile devices and apps, but big industry players such as Apple, Google and even Microsoft are all-in. Each has launched a mobile operating system and cloud service designed to keep data off local hard drives where it faces a greater security threat.
With the discussion of mobile devices as productivity tools comes the question about users who bring personal personal devices onto agency networks, commonly referred to as "bring your own device" or BYOD. Many users already have devices that they are comfortable with and don’t want to carry two devices. On the surface, it seems like a gift to the government that agencies can avoid the cost of purchasing devices for their employees, but having to manage and service multiple devices, brands and operating systems poses a serious challenge.
As Simon Szykman, CIO of the Commerce Department, notes in the video below from the GITEC 2012 conference, BYOD may not be the future of mobility after all.
“Not buying the devices on the government side is probably a little more modest in terms of the savings because if you look at the total cost of ownership for managing enterprise-grade mobility services, the cost of the devices is somewhat small relative to the overall cost of ownership for the services.” ̶ Szykman
In general, most GITEC attendees seemed to agree that BYOD programs would play some role in the future but only when agencies found a reliable way to keep data secure. Most agencies are looking to Apple iOS devices as they explore new mobile solutions. One question that remains largely unresolved is: Who pays for BYOD devices and their wireless service̶ users or agencies?