In spite of an outcry from the federal work force for heightened access to wireless networks, U.S. government spending that would extend the service into offices reached a five-year low of $820.2 million in fiscal year 2015, a decline of 21 percent from its peak three years earlier, according to market research firm Govini.
SDN, BYOA, VDI. This alphabet soup of technologies and approaches has complicated U.S. Defense Department networks.
Trends such as bring your own device (BYOD), bring your own application (BYOA), software-defined networking (SDN) and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) have dramatically increased network vulnerabilities, where failures, slowdowns or breaches can cause great damage. For the military, specifically, such occurrences can be serious and mission altering, exposing incredibly sensitive data.
According to a recent survey of more than 1,000 participants at 20 different agencies, federal employee behaviors on mobile devices are putting sensitive government data at risk. Whether agencies realize it or not, federal employees are taking their work home with them—even if an agency does not allow the practice.
As many as 50 percent of federal employees access work email from their personal device, and another 49 percent use their personal device for downloading work documents. There is a significant amount of data movement between personal and work accounts. Any organization, federal or not, should strive for visibility and control over where its data goes.
Do you play Pokemon Go?
The craze surrounding the augmented reality game that blends modern technology with a hint of nostalgia has resulted in a lot of benefits, from getting people outdoors to striking up conversations with strangers. But security concerns cause the hair of cybersecurity experts and privacy practitioners to stand on end worse than Brock’s.
The mobile app, created by Niantic and supported by the Pokemon company Nintendo and Alphabet, which owns Google, has taken the nation by storm. The free app uses GPS and real-world aspects and overlays the Pokemon characters on a cartoon map of neighborhoods.
There’s more, but back to the security issue.
Current technology trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT), bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives and the deployment of cloud-based applications all demand more and more bandwidth. One aspect of modernization that could be overlooked as we rush to implement emerging technologies is also the most important—the network backbone that will support it all.
Coming on the heels of Virginia's big push to reduce the number of commuters last week on area roads with Virginia Telework Week, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is updating guidance to include the latest technology available to strengthen remote-access data security, especially as the number of teleworkers trends upward.
"She’ll need a totem. Some kind of personal icon. A small object that you can always have with you, and that no one else knows. ... I can’t let you handle it. That’s the point. No one else can know the weight or balance of it. So when you examine your totem ... you know, beyond a doubt, that you’re not in someone else’s dream." – Arthur in Inception (Warner Bros. Pictures, 2010)
Roll back the clock to 2009. With great fanfare, General Dynamics and L-3 announced the now infamous (in government circles) Secure Mobile Environment Portable Electronic Device (SME-PED) designed to be a special secure phone—one that, say, a U.S. president might use. But several problems plagued the effort, including cost, weight, short battery life and a lack of functionality. Then, “the iPhone happened,” says a former National Security Agency (NSA) executive. “We missed it. But hey, so did Blackberry and a lot of commercial companies.”
As the Defense Department dives into the mobility ecosystem and embraces the use of mobile devices by the warfighter in the battlefield up to the highest echelons of leadership, it seeks solutions too for full-on mobility at the enterprise level. Leaders still struggle over concerns from security vulnerabilities to the legal questions that impact employees workload when they’re off the clock.
“You’re going to see a lot of headlines here that say ‘secure mobility.’ Blank that out,” said Terry Halvorsen, the Defense Department’s chief information officer. “I want you to insert the words ‘secure enough mobility.’ Part of what we’ve got to understand is: what’s secure enough?”
Government information technology administrators long have been trained to keep an eye out for the threats that come from outside their firewalls. But what if the greatest threats actually come from within?