BYOD Creates Security Challenges for Federal Government

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A recent report from Telework Exchange has revealed that the BYOD advantage taken by the Federal employees is creating mobile security challenges for the Federal Government itself. The report, named as 2013 Digital Dilemma Report, is sponsored by EMC, VMware, Cisco, and Carahsoft, reveals that 55 percent of Federal smartphone users use their personal smartphone for work purposes.

The negative side is that one out of three users does not protect that same device with password. The study also shows that 85 percent of the Federal employees have downloaded an app to their personal smartphone or tablet, which exposes the device, its data, and the user to a greater level of risk, depending on the nature of the application. This, no doubt, contributes to the increasing malware attacks directed at the mobile devices. But what’s more ironic is that only 11% of the agencies have some sort of BYOD policy in place, while 55% of the employees use their own personal devices for work. So, is this a fault of the agencies allowing the use of employee devices too?

Giving his views on the same, Kyle Keller, federal cloud business director at EMC Corporation said,

“IT transformation, helped by the adoption of mobile computing, is at an all time high within the Federal government. As more Federal employees introduce their own smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices to work, managing these devices over an IT infrastructure they can trust becomes crucial. Implementation of policy, training and technology will be necessary to ensure the best security and control in this new era of increased mobility.”

Undoubtedly, BYOD has caused a debate across the IT industry. In fact, throughout the 2012, this remained a much-talked about topic, especially software licensing implications of BYOD and multiple-device-per-user scenarios, with respect to Microsoft licensing.

In addition, Lookout’s latest 2013 Mobile Threat Predictions report suggests that we should expect an increase in spam and phishing attempts, and addresses one final point – BYOD. This means, finding the “right balance” between protection and employee empowerment will be key for businesses in 2013.