Handling the Holiday Surge of Mobile Devices

Tablets are at the top of many adults' holiday wish lists. Here's how agencies can prepare for the surge of mobile devices in the office.

The holidays are a hectic time for everyone, including the IT department. Tablets and smartphones are sure to be popular gifts again this year. When all those employees bring their devices to work in early January, how can IT handle the surge? FedTech caught up with Tom Simmons, area vice president at Citrix, to learn more about how agencies can prepare for and manage the coming influx of devices.

FedTech: How can federal agencies prepare for the surge in devices they will see after the holidays?

Simmons: IT departments can best prepare by ensuring all employees are aware of the agency’s official policy on the use of personal devices in the workplace. Several agencies restrict personal device use on government networks, but do allow employees to access resources remotely either from a personal Wi-Fi or 4G connection, extending their existing telework policy. This “bring your own network” approach when coupled with solutions that limit data exposure (such as desktop and app virtualization) can ensure that all data stays secure in the government data center while allowing personal devices to be used in a thin-client-type solution.

FedTech: What is the biggest concern: network security, data loss, theft or some combination of those?

Simmons: There are several concerns for enabling personal devices for government computing use: potential government data loss, network intrusion through unsecured endpoints, and personal data privacy concerns if a device is breached. Standardized policies that can holistically address each of these concerns will be needed before the mass adoption of personal devices in a government network.

FedTech: What is the future of BYOD?

Simmons:As these policies evolve, we will see a broader adoption of bring-your-own-device (BYOD), which will eventually lead to cost savings and efficiency gains for federal agencies.

Here are a few articles with more information on mobility and BYOD:

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Dec 23 2013