National security officials take new approach to mobility

New focus is on empowering employees, not restricting communication

If you worked for a highly security-conscious organization that wanted mobility for the workforce--and you had an unlimited budget--you very well might insist on employer-issued hardware secured with your own custom technology. This was the approach the National Security Agency took several years ago, only to discover that it wasted a great deal of time and money on a mobility solution that was basically dead on arrival, writes Jason Bloomberg, president of ZapThink.  

There were three main problems with the NSA's mobility strategy, which was called Secure Mobile Environment Portable Electronic Device, or SME-PED, Bloomberg writes in a post at CIO magazine: It took many years to develop the technology, and by the time it was ready, the underlying infrastructure was obsolete. Employees objected to the devices' limitations and tried to use their own on the QT, and the project went over budget. This time around, the agency is taking a different approach.

According to a Department of Defense Mobility Strategy Memo, the new mobility strategy will center on empowering workers rather than restricting communications, Bloomberg writes. Because different employees have different security needs, there will no longer be a one-size-fits-all effort. The strategy will emphasize software-based security, using off-the-shelf hardware, which employees are likely to appreciate.  Devices will be managed centrally, with distributed enforcement of security policies, and interoperability among applications will be encouraged.

"While traditional thinking is that closed technology is inherently more secure, today's approach is to embrace openness and develop secure approaches that work in open, dynamic environments. As a result, if the answer to the question "Is there an app for that?" is Yes, then there should be a way to securely use the new app within the appropriate security context," Bloomberg writes.

For more:
- see Jason Bloomberg's post at CIO

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