IT support experts are paying close attention to a newly announced ‘mobile device strategy’ for the US Department of Defense. The strategy emphasizes the essential nature of employee training in order for these devices to be used to their highest potential in the workplace. According to Teresa Takai, the Chief Information Officer for the department, "Although mobile devices are the new and popular item in today's commercial market, this strategy is not simply about embracing the newest technology; it is about keeping the DoD workforce relevant in an era when information and cyberspace play a critical role in mission success."
The mobile strategy acknowledges that the use of such devices in a work environment "requires a new level of trust with the end user" because there is such potential for IT security violations when employees are using their own personal devices for work. For this reason, the DoD's mobile strategy recommends that extensive training be provided to workers expected to become part of a mobile-enabled workforce. This training should not merely be isolated sessions on the devices themselves or even on the need for security; instead, management should "broadly integrate mobile device training into existing workforce education and training programs where applicable."
The new strategy has raised some eyebrows for its lack of specifics with regard to how mobile devices can and should be secured for use in a business environment, though some insiders wonder if such information is present in the classified version of the document.
In addition to stressing employee training, the strategy urges the establishment of clear standards and policies with regard to mobile phone usage. These standards should also address the need to make sure that interoperability between devices is as widespread as possible while secure usage is maintained. The need for management of device life cycles was also stressed, as was the need to develop applications that function both on the web and in a mobile interface. Businesses adopting BYOD strategies for their workers share all of these concerns.
The DoD has set an excellent example in developing a mobile device strategy for the workplace. Small and medium-sized businesses would be well-advised to follow suit with the assistance of IT consultants who can offer helpful counsel during every stage of the process. Firms in Massachusetts and neighboring states will find an IT support Boston firm such as iCorps ideally suited to address their needs.