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FCW : March 15, 2016
large financial transfers by email.” It might seem like a time-saving measure to direct something to happen based on an email message, but the approach makes the organization vulnerable to hackers who can compromise that executive’s email and, say, order changes to a firewall configuration. Mobile data security fundamentals The three basic approaches to securing mobile devices are prohibiting mobile access altogether, issuing government-sanctioned devices or allowing employees to use their own smartphones or tablets for work. Prohibiting the use of mobile devices rare- ly works. Even if employees are locked out of their work email or productivity tools, they will use their personal email accounts and public cloud services as a workaround. Some agencies select a locked-down device, enhance its security if necessary and issue the device to employees. But that approach is becoming less popular because employees don’t want to carry two devices, especially one that is quickly out of date. “The users out in the field don’t want to be linked with the typical government cycle of three or four or five years,” said Bryan Glancey, CTO at Optio Labs. “And the mobile market changes every year.” In response, many agencies are trying to shorten the refresh cycle, said Glancey, who has worked on a number of large-scale gov- ernment contracts related to mobile device security. The National Security Agency, for example, used to take 12 to 18 months to validate devices and now conducts 90-day, fast-track certifications. “They’ve changed from testing something for 18 months to testing it for three months, so you can keep up with the market better and not have users with really old devices,” Glancey said. The third approach is “bring our own device,” or BYOD. Employees are typically given a choice of approved devices, and the government picks up some or all of the cost. BYOD is becoming increasingly popular, Glancey said, and is often used in combi- March 15, 2016 FCW.COM 23 Federal employees and personal device usage Whether they realize it or not, federal employees are taking their work home with them — something their agency might not allow. Use device for work email Use device for downloading work docs 50 40 30 20 10 0 50% 49% 27% 24% Total % of employees 17% store work-related documents on personal file-sharing apps 24% send work documents to personal email accounts %todosooften Source: Lookout survey of federal employees 031516fcw_022-025.indd 23 2/23/16 11:39 AM
March 30, 2016