Does Mobility Really Mean Anytime, Anywhere, on any Device?

Aug 29, 2012

A few years ago I attended a conference with the theme “Anytime, Anywhere, on Any Device,” and I thought that was a catchy phrase. It is interesting to see that vision remained and the federal government is directing agencies to move towards that direction. The recently released Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American Peoplestrategy states “New expectations require the federal government to be ready to deliver and receive digital information and service anytime, anywhere and on any device.”  That conference theme was spot on.

Mobility in the workplace has many advantages to both employees and employers, including freedom to work remotely, improved efficiency of business processes and reduced IT capital costs via Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives.  If mobility in the workplace is implemented effectively it allows employees to perform their job functions outside the traditional desktop environment, increasing productivity and providing them a more balanced lifestyle. Sounds like a “win-win” for all involved.

That said, there are clearly challenges associated with implementing workplace mobility. Generally a new network infrastructure overhaul is required and new security measures must be put into place.  We have already seen the institution of laptops in the workplace and addressed the security concerns that come along with them.  Now we need to address the same security concerns around smartphones, tablets and wireless networks.  How do we deal with data on the device and encryption, or what do we do if the device is lost or stolen?  Implementing a comprehensive mobile device management (MDM) solution will address these concerns.

I am looking forward to the 9.1 Milestone in the roadmap to a digital government (referenced above). This will develop a baseline for government-wide mobile and wireless security, which should be completed by June of next year.  Working together, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Defense (DOD) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will develop policies that provide standardized security requirements for mobile and wireless adoption across the federal government. When implemented, government agencies will be able to fully implement an end-to-end mobile strategy.  Only then, will we be able to say “Anytime, Anywhere, on Any Device” is a reality.