Making federal government mobile1
Mobile was a hot topic at this year’s Smart Card Alliance Government Conference, held in Washington D.C. Like other enterprises, federal government agencies want employees to have the convenience and productivity gains of smartphones and tablets, as well as the potential cost savings of bring your own device (BYOD).
Meeting this challenge, however, involves finding solutions to three important issues:
- Security – mobile devices and derived mobile credentials must be tried and tested to guarantee they do not undermine the PIV (Personal Identity Verification) credential-based physical and logical access control that security agencies are now putting in place.
- Diversity of devices – not only is there a vast range of devices using operating systems from iOS, and Android through to Windows and Symbian, but new versions and devices are introduced in sub-twelve month cycles. Any potential PIV mobile solution would have to work across these architectures and keep pace with the rate of change.
- Standardization – to meet the needs of federal procurements and testing, standards will have to be developed that extend the PIV model into mobile devices.
It’s a lot to consider, but addressing these issues is imperative to empowering federal agency employees. Only one of the several security technology options being discussed for federal government networks shows potential for achieving these three criteria: UICC SIM cards.
UICC SIMs are derived from existing technology standards in mobile devices, so they span a broad range and can keep pace with change. They have the same crypto-capable smart card DNA underpinnings as the PIV card, so you can be confident in the knowledge that your smart card credentials are secure. No other mobile security technology options share the advantages.
As Cheryl Hewett recently asserted on the Cisco blog, more and more workplaces are encountering the issue of BYOD. Workers in the private sector, keen to use the technology they love and are familiar with, have been using their personal devices for work purposes, along them to work more flexibly and increase their productivity. UICC SIMs will allow those in the public sector to do the same, granting government the same highly-motivated staff, happy with devices suited to their preferences.
The urgent next steps are to begin the hard work necessary to develop standards so that technology providers can put solutions in place for federal agencies. Once this is in place, federal government agencies and their employees will be able to reap the benefits enjoyed by millions of workers in the enterprise.