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FCW : June 15, 2014
Commentary | EUGENE LIDERMAN Secure mobility was a key driver across the federal government in 2013, and it is proving to be a major priority for agencies in 2014. Last year, we witnessed sig- ni cant progress and support for addressing bring-your-own-device demands. For instance, the White House released a BYOD tool kit to help agencies develop mobil- ity plans, and the CIO Council released a baseline of mobile stan- dards to help address security and privacy concerns. However, despite the efforts to standardize the government s approach to mobility, agencies con- tinue to develop their own mobile applications. If every agency is going through the same process, shouldn t there be an opportunity to share best practices, reuse valu- able data, and ultimately deploy industry-standard applications that enhance agencies ability to achieve their goals and missions? Some agencies are already look- ing for ways to take advantage of the efforts underway in the govern- ment landscape. For example, the Of ce of Management and Bud- get s plan to build a 21st-century digital government has helped set the stage for agencies transition to mobile technology by introduc- ing the key principles of a shared platform and an information-centric approach. The plan will allow agen- cies to reuse code and data and tap commercially available platforms to achieve a higher return on invest- ment from mobility efforts. Likewise, when of cials at the Department of Homeland Secu- rity began to develop a mobility strategy, they recognized that they didn t need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, they sought to crowd- source data and reuse commer- cial products to provide secure applications to its employees more quickly. DHS was able to embed security and privacy into its applications by creating unique user pro les and only allowing certain pro les to access certain information. DHS of cials are taking infor- mation sharing a step further by developing what they call the Car- wash, which is a way for agencies to build, test and deploy mobile applications that meet the govern- ment s strict security mandates and standards. Once an application has successfully made it through the Carwash, it can be published for use. That type of simple crowd- sourcing and information shar- ing will reduce development time exponentially and bring a better return on investment for mobile efforts. Similarly, the General Services Administration s Digital Services Innovation Center has released a mobile app development program through which agencies can plan their mobile strategies by seeing what other agencies have done and accessing top mobile developers. They can also create apps and sites based on user-experience guide- lines and incorporate pre-existing code. Once apps are ready, agen- cies can test them to ensure that they meet security requirements and then make them available via the app store. Although those platforms and apps are readily available, there are no set policies or guidelines to help agencies share apps and data. The National Institute of Standards and Technology s "Guidelines for Managing the Security of Mobile Devices in the Enterprise" advises organizations on how to keep mobile devices and data secure, but they are voluntary. Mobility can no longer be ignored in government, and by using an information-centric approach, agencies can more quickly adopt secure mobile solu- tions. They should look for ways to share information and reuse exist- ing data to achieve a higher return on investment and better support their missions, while also develop- ing a set of guidelines to promote information sharing for future mobile projects. ■ Stop reinventing the mobility wheel Rather than creating custom apps from scratch, agencies should take advantage of the opportunity to build on one another's valuable data and code Agencies should look for ways to share information and reuse existing data to achieve a higher return on investment. EUGENE LIDERMAN is director of public-sector technology at Good Technology. 10 June 15, 2014 FCW.COM
June 30, 2014
July 15, 2014