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FCW : January 2013
ommunications generally are rapidly moving away from the xed desktop towards mobile, and government is following right behind. One of the most heated debates is over whether to allow federal employees to use their personal devices to do their jobs, and if so, how. One the one hand, bring-your- own-device (BYOD) promises cash-strapped agencies a chance to substantially cut the costs as- sociated with buying devices and providing the infrastructure to sup- port them. Other potential bene ts are signi cant boosts in employee pro- ductivity. Some people have also claimed that BYOD is necessary to recruit and retain millennials and younger workers who now expect the kind of services it offers. A few agencies have already signaled they are ready to move to BYOD. The Department of Ag- riculture published a request for proposals for a "next generation mobility initiative" that could expand the number of mobile users at the agency from 15,000 to 100,000, using a combination of government furnished equipment and BYOD policies. Other agencies are study- ing BYOD or even launching pilots. However, the prevailing senti- ment seems to be one of caution. "BYOD currently presents many more challenges than bene ts and will not be a viable IT mobility mod- el for the DOD in the near future," said Lt Col Damien Pickart, a DOD spokesman, citing ""signi cant legal, privacy and security chal- lenges that must rst be resolved." Other major impediments to BYOD include how to reimburse employees for the money they spend on doing government busi- ness on their devices, and how to maintain personal data and apps on personal devices while securing government data. Experts also pointed to more nuanced issues that are involved when introducing BYOD. Factors to consider include mission, cost, acceptable risk and the functionality that can be brought to bear through a BYOD program and how that would support the mission, said Daniel McCrae, director of NOAA's service delivery division in the Of ce of the Chief Information Of cer. Also, he said, "having a common expectation of what [BYOD] means in the organizational and mission context is important." Nevertheless, it seems obvious that BYOD in one form or another is coming to government, and agencies better start getting ready. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has issued a revi- sion of its SP 800-124 guidelines on managing and securing mo- bile devices to include BYOD. In August, the Obama Administration published a BYOD Toolkit to help agencies in implementing BYOD. Technology seems to be the least of BYOD's problems, and trends such as desktop virtualization could make its introduction much easier. Getting the policy and security is- sues right is the essential piece. Sponsored Report BYOD BYOD promises big benefits, but may not be for everyone For some agencies, the idea of allowing employee-owned devices at work comes with too many unanswered questions FULL REPORT ONLINE Go to FCW.com/2013BYOD 2. BYOD: Employees ponder the cost of security 3. Is BYOD really that important to Millennials? 4. Virtualization, already a major trend, can help with BYOD 5. Implementing BYOD is not easy, but here are ways to start Other BYOD Report Articles