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Mobility, along with cloud computing and security, are the top technology issues that federal agencies are facing today. More importantly, these issues are impossible to separate from one another. Data stored in the cloud is often accessed from mobile devices. Security becomes a greater concern when devices are small enough to travel with employees outside the office.
To see how well the government is adapting to the new generation of workers and technology, The Telework Exchange surveyed 314 federal employees who use mobile devices for work.
Here are a few key points from 2013 Digital Dilemma Report: Mobility, Security, Productivity – Can We Have It All?
Like any worker, government employees need tools to be productive. In an age of ubiquitous technology, the highest productivity can often be achieved with personal, not government-owned, devices. The Digital Dilemma Report indicated that more than 55 percent of government employees are bringing their own devices to work, and most employees believe that mobility means more productivity:
76% of the Federal government is using mobile devices for work-related tasks; they say they gain 9 hours a week in estimated productivity, equating to $28B in productivity gains.
Greater productivity results in the saving of taxpayer dollars, which in this case is enormous. If billions of dollars are being saved with the use of mobile devices, the government cannot embrace them and the necessary security policies fast enough.
The biggest concern with mobile devices is that they aren’t secure, and, in many ways, the Digital Dilemma Report confirms this. The graph below examines security measures on mobile devices versus laptops. The issue is obvious and partially a result of the sudden influx of devices into the workplace. Part of the issue, however, is a lack of strong bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies.
The burden of security falls squarely on the shoulders of the government, and according to the Telework Exchange, 57 percent of federal employees “would consider paying their agency to have their personal device updated or certified as safe.” The workers have already purchased the devices and are willing to pay more to make them safe. This alone speaks to the future of technology in government. Consumer technology has advanced to the point where employees can lead the way on some technology initiatives and, in some cases, even foot the bill.