Aug 18 2014

How Federal Agencies Secure Mobile Content

Agencies tap mobile content management features to reduce costs and improve security.

Combining a content management system with mobile device management (MDM) has helped the Census Bureau save money and more efficiently and securely transmit content on mobile devices.


The percentage of organizations that push apps to their employees who are using customized applications

SOURCE: Fiberlink, “MaaS360 Mobile Metrics,” May 2014

Scott Williams, division chief for the Census Bureau’s telecommunications office, says the agency recently deployed MaaS360 from IBM/Fiberlink to help replace more than 1,300 government-furnished BlackBerry devices with iPhone 5s devices.

The agency deployed email, calendaring and a few other applications using MDM and will test and deploy Census-taking applications on smartphones using MaaS360. It will also use the platform to secure applications and data on personal devices.

“The cloud-based MaaS360 service also allowed the agency to eliminate its BlackBerry Enterprise Server infrastructure and to manage mobile devices without being tethered to the agency’s network,” Williams says. “One thing we really like about MaaS360 is we can manage multiple mobile platforms such as iOS and Android devices.”

Chris Silva, research director for mobile and client computing for Gartner, says agencies will increasingly integrate content management into their MDM environments. “Only 20 to 30 percent of organizations go beyond basic MDM, but that will change as the people closest to the day-to-day work demand that secure document management is integrated into workflows so they can run apps on mobile devices,” he says.

NASA’s Future Plans

NASA also plans to deploy full MDM features agencywide — including secure content management — with the MaaS360 cloud-based service.

Burton Bright, IT chief technology officer for the Marshall Space Flight Center, says NASA plans to support all 50,000 users with the MDM service. The agency will start by deploying MDM to the 5,000 devices that are covered under the Agency Consolidated End-User Services contract.

“Our goal is to use secure content management to help protect NASA email, calendaring and other NASA data that users require access to from anywhere, on any approved device, at any time,” Bright adds.

Mark Goodge, chief technology officer for the Defense Health Agency, says his agency will use the MDM and mobile application store solution sets approved by the Defense Information Systems Agency. “We believe mobile device adoption will enable warfighter support personnel to quickly and responsively manage the business of DHA, as well as keep the DHA workforce relevant in a society that emphasizes cyberspace utilization and rapid information sharing,” Goodge says.