October marks the end of the US federal government’s fiscal year, and Imation’s mobile security experts are very busy discussing the benefit of our solutions with IT staffs at various agencies. We typically see an increase in interest near the end of the fiscal year, but there are a couple of reasons why our IronKey secure USB solutions are more top-of mind this year than in the past.
There is an increased focus from government agencies on enabling computer mobility. Like many other sectors, government agencies understand that mobile devices make employees more productive, a fact which was backed up as recently as May in an 1105 Government Information Group report. IronKey secure USB data storage devices and IronKey Workspace Windows To Go solutions enable end user mobility, as government employees can take their data and desktop environments with them wherever they go securely.
Microsoft Windows 8 spotlights how USB devices can serve as a secure, mobile computing alternative for BYOD. Microsoft cites Windows To Go, which enables a fully functioning Windows desktop to be booted from a USB device, as a key enterprise feature of Windows 8. Government agencies are taking notice.
At the same time, government IT staffs are justifiably concerned about security. The same 1105 Government Information Group report cited earlier notes that agencies are providing their employees with agency-issued devices, primarily because they are worried about the lack of control. A government mobility policy in these situations shifts away from BYOD, since employees cannot bring their own devices.
Any solution involving mobile devices (whether through employee devices or agency-provided devices) must include policies and technology to protect against data leakage or misused data.
In general, we offer these tips as part of such policies:
1) Access control: Agencies must establish and enforce strict methods for granting device access.
2) Auditing: IT departments should schedule frequent audits to make sure that devices are in the right hands and are being used appropriately.
3) Remote kill: Government agencies should deploy mobile solutions that enable remote kill capabilities, so that devices can be erased or destroyed if they fall into the wrong hands.