Feature Article

January 16, 2013

Telework Exchange Study Finds Many Federal Smartphones Lacking Password Protection

Telework Exchange recently released the results of a new study entitled, “The 2013 Digital Dilemma Report: Mobility, Security, Productivity — Can We Have It All?”

The project — sponsored by EMC, VMware, Cisco, and Carahsoft — highlights the security risks associated with increased mobile device use within the Federal government.

The key piece of information presented by the report is the fact that more than half of the smartphone users in the Federal government use a personal smartphone for job-related tasks, and that, out of this group, one in three workers don't have their phone password protected.

This means that while Federal employees are enjoying the productivity gains that come from using mobile devices, government data is potentially at risk, undermining the point of the Digital Government Strategy, which calls for embracing the digital world while still ensuring mobility, security and efficiency.

Additionally, 85 percent of Federal employees have downloaded an app to their personal mobile device, opening that device up to greater attack risk.

The report goes on to note, however, that the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, the Interior, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and Defense all make the grade for the Mobile Security Honor Roll. All of these agencies scored high in password protection, multifactor authentication, secure remote connection, remote data deletion, GPS tracker and biometrics.

Still, there’s room for improvement, particularly in the form of secure, governable BYOD policies.

“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,” said Kyle Keller, federal cloud business director at EMC Corporation, in a statement. “Implementation of policy, training and technology will be necessary to ensure the best security and control in this new era of increased mobility.”

Last year, Telework Exchange released "The 2012-2013 Telework/Mobile IT Almanac," sponsored by Riverbed Technology and SwishData Corporation which states that 65 percent of Federal agencies boast above-average IT programs for enabling telework and mobility.

More recently, Telework released the "Fly Me to Your Room: Government Video Conferencing Collaboration Report," which showcases opportunities for increased efficiencies and cooperation through video conferencing.

Edited by Braden Becker

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