Survey Says Mobile Computing is the "New Normal" for Federal Employees
More than half of Federal employees use at least one mobile device at work, a CDW-G survey found, and many are using personal devices to accomplish work-related tasks.
The report, based on a survey of 414 Federal employees and IT staff, examines current trends in mobility, how agency IT professionals are managing mobile devices, and the steps they are taking to secure Federal data.
Mobility is no longer just a nice-to-have capability, CDW-G found: Nearly all 203 Federal IT professionals (99 percent) said they have deployed mobile devices to their agency workforce. What's more, 62 percent of those IT professionals said their agencies allow employees to use personal devices for work.
"Mobility is the 'new normal' for Federal employees," said Bob Kirby, vice president of federal government for CDW-G. "Employees increasingly expect to be able to work anywhere and at any time. Agencies responded first by deploying mobile devices, and now they are enabling use of personal devices. And the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is likely to continue, following the Obama administration's November 2011 executive order that asked agencies to limit the number of IT devices they issue to employees, including mobile devices, in order to reduce costs."
Agencies are providing a good security baseline for mobile device use, with the majority establishing mobile data security policies (85 percent) and requiring data security training for mobile device users (84 percent). However, CDW-G found that there is room for agencies to improve security measures in order to protect sensitive data. For example, while 82 percent of IT professionals said their agency deployed encryption for mobile devices, far fewer said their agency protects mobile devices with multi-factor authentication (54 percent), remote lock and wipe (45 percent), and data loss prevention software (39 percent).
"Federal employees – just like those in other industries – access a wide variety of data in the course of their jobs, from financial information to employee and taxpayer records to email and social networking accounts," Kirby said. "Employees understand the need to keep private information just that – private. But as cyber threats become increasingly sophisticated, they need a full suite of security tools to help them."
Mobile device management (MDM) – over-the-air distribution of applications, data and configuration settings for all types of mobile devices – can help agencies deploy and manage security tools across the mobile workforce, while reducing IT management costs. While 71 percent of Federal IT professionals say they include MDM in their security efforts, CDW-G found that most are not deploying a full suite of security tools to agency and personal devices via MDM, revealing an opportunity to improve agencies' security posture.
CDW-G recommends that agencies:
- Evaluate and/or establish a BYOD policy
- Assess their MDM needs
- Audit their MDM tools to ensure they support the agency's security goals
- Incorporate the personal devices employees use for work into the agency's MDM strategy
The CDW-G Federal Mobility Report surveyed 203 Federal IT staff and 211 Federal employees. The margin of error for the total sample is ± 4.8 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.
For a copy of the complete CDW-G Federal Mobility Report, visit http://www.cdwg.com/federalmobility