Federal Agencies Strive to Empower Mobile Workforce

The federal environment is known for pushing the envelope when it comes to cutting-edge technology, in many cases staying two steps ahead of the private sector in its efforts to innovate. With respect to mobility projects, however, agencies have struggled to incorporate policies that ensure high-performance application delivery while safeguarding data from the threats of malicious attackers and internal end user errors. If you want to bring your mobile infrastructure up to speed with today's enterprise leaders, it's important to keep the pulse of the progress and pain points experienced by your public contemporaries.

A tenuous balance

You've probably faced the dilemma before: How can an agency provide a suite of dynamic mobile applications without risking the dangers of security vulnerabilities? This is the exact challenge that many federal IT decision-makers are tackling in their internal tech environments, according to C4ISR and Networks. The source pointed to recent Raytheon research revealing this very tension in a range of organizations, with 52 percent of respondents claiming they frequently sacrifice security best practices in an effort to realize the efficiency benefits of mobile connectivity.

"This survey points to the fact that there is a struggle to find the right balance between the cyber security needs of an organization and the efficiencies demanded by employees to do their jobs," said Ashok Sankar, senior director of product management and strategy at Raytheon Cyber Products, according to the news source.

Despite the difficulties presented by mobile strategies and their security implications, federal agencies still appear to be plowing ahead with their initiatives, as close to 50 percent of employees anticipate they will be doing most of their work on laptops, smartphones and tablets. Furthermore, 64 percent of respondents said they lacked the internal expertise and funds to properly mitigate the threats that accompany these projects. The time is now to preempt this trend and solidify your mobile infrastructure before things get out of hand.

Creative opportunities

The jury is still out on mobile best practices, so don't hold back when it comes to experimenting with different policies and configurations for your organization. As a recent article from CRN noted, IT leaders must not fight the changing tides, but rather embrace the evolution of mobile technology and work with end users to establish sound strategies. Robert Palmer, acting deputy executive director of the Enterprise Systems Development Office with Homeland Security, told the source that while he has confidence in the future of federal mobility, there is still work to be done.

"There's a lot of creativity going on right now in terms of how do we do use these commercial capabilities or what's available on the commercial side to better achieve the mission," Palmer reportedly said. "I don't think we've really settled on what the workforce looks like for the next five years. As people start to embrace mobility, then the landscape starts to change."

If you can balance budgets, security and end user flexibility in your mobile blueprint, the future will be bright for your organization and those who follow in your footsteps.