Unlocking the Potential of Mobility to Improve Efficiency and Achieve Greater Mission Performance
Departments and agencies across the U.S. federal government have deployed a wide array of mobility solutions – smartphones and tablets, machine-to-machine, mobile apps – with the goals of improving operational efficiency and achieving greater mission performance whether it be protecting the homeland, providing healthcare to veterans, monitoring the food supply, or delivering services to citizens.
Despite the potential benefits of mobility, many agencies – just like their private sector counterparts – struggle with a number of challenges related to managing, securing and measuring enterprisewide mobility programs.
Following are some of the key challenges faced by federal organizations in developing and implementing a comprehensive mobility strategy.
- Security: Security tops the list of mobility challenges. This includes physical, network, data and ultimately, individual security measures.
- Authentication/Authorization: How do users authenticate their mobile identity to gain access to a device? How do users verify who they are communicating and sharing information with on the other end? How do organizations authorize a user to access certain applications and types of data?
- Mobile Strategy & Policies: Strategy development should begin with identification of a business issue. Business objectives should then drive technology decisions. In addition, policies either need to be created (what types of workers need a mobile device and/or access to certain information) or updated (remote access or teleworking) to clearly articulate roles and responsibilities.
- Mobile Device Management: Key to understanding an organization’s entire mobile asset inventory. Must support complex sets of requirements for multiple types of users and access to different types and levels of information.
- Consumerization of IT: Consumers are increasingly interested in using personal devices for work purposes, commonly referred to as bring-your-own-device (BYOD). Federal agencies must develop thoughtful and comprehensive policies governing these trends given the sensitivity of data handled by many agencies.
- Application Readiness: Encompasses virtualizing legacy applications for use on a mobile device and developing secure mobile apps for use by remote and mobile workers.
- Support Models: From help desk support to defining the operating systems and devices to be supported, federal agencies are placing increased focus on this area in order to contain expenses, and avoid duplicative efforts and hidden costs.
Any discussion of mobility programs would be incomplete without a reference to cloud computing. The combination of these two technologies is powerful. The ability to host applications and data in a secure cloud computing environment that can be accessed by employees from virtually any location and on many device types is huge in terms of efficiency and information availability. Machine-to-machine applications where data from multiple sensors or devices is gathered into a single database for analysis using Big Data techniques offers the promise of uncovering new research findings in healthcare or environmental quality, even transportation management.
Last December, Federal Computer Week hosted its second annual government mobility forum, titled “Secure, Reliable and Resilient Strategies for the Mobile and Global Enterprise.” The video of the event is still available for viewing and offers some valuable insights from both government and the private sector.
It’s definitely worthwhile to spend some time listening to the far-ranging conversations.