A guide to BYOD (bring-your-own-device)

Monday - 2/6/2012, 10:21am EST

Tim Scannell, editorial director, Technology.com

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By Sean McCalley
Federal News Radio

B.Y.O.D. — short for bring your own device — is coming to government. Instead of connecting via office computer, many agencies' online networks will be available to personal devices like iPhones and Androids.

With the new system comes a variety of cybersecurity issues that require careful strategy. Tim Scannell, editorial director of TechnologyGuide.com, joined The Federal Drive with Tom Temin with a breakdown of the benefits and potential pitfalls of BYOD.

Scannell specifically pointed to how easily mobile devices can be lost, stolen or hacked. Because there is no practical way to supervise mobile computing, a cyber criminal might have a new way to infiltrate an agency.

"Not that Leon Panetta is going to be on Foursquare and he's going to say 'Oh, he's in Syria today!'" Scannell said. "But, it's going to be very serious because companies have no control to see what happens there."

In an earlier report, Andrew Jackson, the Interior Department's deputy assistant secretary for technology, information and business services, said his department's new mobile policy offers a plethora of cost-saving possibilities.

"If we can give them the tools to get their job done more quickly, more efficiently, it's my belief that we'll actually function better as a department and ultimately do our jobs better for the taxpayers," Jackson said.

This change reflects the growing presence of mobile devices in the workplace, including the private sector. Scannell said that 72 percent of private companies have no official strategy to incorporate mobile computing. This is despite the fact that half of mobile devices in the workplace are employee-owned (as of last year).

"They really don't know what to do in terms of these devices, so they sort of have a loosey-goosey policy that doesn't fit into the current mobile strategies," Scannell said.

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