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The time is right for state and local governments to tackle mobility

David Smith

Mobility, bring-your-own-device and telework policies pay off several times over. In addition to creating a work-life balance for employees with anytime, anywhere connectivity, the ability to go mobile can help to ease vexing budgetary constraints that many state and local governments will carry, once again, into a new year.

With these benefits and a growing citizen demand for round-the-clock accessibility to government services and information, few will dispute that mobility presents a compelling value proposition for state and local governments.

What’s holding us up? Many public sector organizations cite security -- of data, devices, applications and networks -- as a formidable and persistent obstacle. To successfully pilot and then launch mobility initiatives, agencies must be prepared to address these challenges head on from the start.   

As the number of smart phone devices, tablets and laptop computers connecting to government networks continues to grow and diversify, leaders are increasingly concerned with the security of internal applications and data, and advancing their protection against threats. This concern is amplified when bring-your-own device (BYOD) policies come into play, as these add considerations associated with data being stored on a personal device.

Increasingly, state and local government analysts and IT professionals seek new approaches to securing and managing devices in a way that ensures a safe and comprehensive mobile strategy through robust management programs. IT executives have asked for solutions that protect underlying applications and confidential data regardless of device ownership -- whether the device is government furnished or personal through BYOD policies -- while enabling access to existing Web- and windows-based applications. Mobile application management solutions enable secure delivery of content to devices -- delivering the application and data virtually, without leaving resident data on the device.

While many agencies have focused on developing mobile device and application management solutions to solve mobility challenges, a more comprehensive approach is required to meet current security and technology needs. To meet the broader challenges and evolving requirements, organizations are beginning to focus on developing enterprise mobility management strategies. Enterprise mobility management is a holistic approach that encompasses mobile device management, mobile application management and mobile data management capabilities, as well as powerful analytics that enable administrators to audit devices, applications, and network access -- ensuring the security of all data, regardless of device.

To manage and secure enterprise mobility, an enterprise mobility management strategy requires:

  • Security for mobile data with a focus on data-in-transit to mobile devices and data-at-rest on mobile devices ensuring they are encrypted using required standards;
  • Comprehensive device management that ensures peripheral control;
  • Policies for access and control using endpoint analysis and user roles to determine which applications and data to deliver, as well as level of access;
  • Robust and flexible authentication;
  • Secure application containerization that separates business applications and data from personal data on mobile devices, which can be remotely administered, locked and wiped by IT;
  • Centralized application management and deployment via an enterprise application store that enables organizations to provision and de-provision applications easily.

With security challenges continuing to evolve, it is imperative that technology leaders address security and governance challenges both quickly and completely. Enterprise mobility management is an all-inclusive approach that enables state and local agencies to lay the foundation and create a secure network for critical data, devices and applications. This approach empowers agencies to realize the many benefits mobility has to offer and grow with technology.

David Smith is director of the state and local government sector at Citrix. He can be reached at:

[email protected]

 

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