Tech Briefing

By John Zyskowski

Blog archive

Why can’t I check e-mail on my iPhone?

Mobile devices like smartphones and tablet computers are the hottest of the hot gadgets these days. In the case of smart phones, at least, many agencies dole them out to some employees as standard-issue equipment for voice and mobile messaging needs. But in other cases, government employees are using their own personal devices, from Android smartphones to Apple iPads, to check in and stay on top of their office chores.

However it is that these devices get into workers’ hands, this “consumerization of IT,” as it’s called, has many agency chief information on notice. They understand that the devices are going to reshape how government work gets done, but they also know that the gadgets pose new management and security challenges that have to be addressed.

What are your agency’s policies about smartphones and handheld computing devices? Are there certain devices that your agency issues and supports? Are there others that they don’t but you wished they did?

Also, what kind of workplace role do you see these devices playing? And what will be the biggest stumbling blocks in the way of this happening?

Please share your comments below.

Posted by John Zyskowski on Nov 09, 2010 at 7:27 PM

Reader Comments

Wed, Dec 29, 2010

The bigger issue on the long term may lie with the users...many users do not understand that when attaching their devices to a corporate network, they are relinquishing control of their device to the company/entity. If the end users knew that their PERSONAL devices could be remotely wiped or controlled by the entity via policies, you can bet most individuals would not be running to connect their devices to the corporate network.

Thu, Dec 16, 2010 William Washington, DC

I think agencies need to move past the distinction between "personal use" and "Government use" of equipment. Where possible, individuals' iPhones should be put on the agency network for agency email use, if nothing else. We need to incentivize people to carry their devices, keep them charged, and be appropriately responsive. We should not force them to carry two devices, which are often different. It's one more thing to carry and one more thing to learn how to use. Similarly, if I have a laptop at home, can we not find a way to configure it for me to use for work in lieu of carrying another laptop back and forth, or allow me to use the Government-issued laptop for appropriate personal use?

Thu, Nov 11, 2010 WA

Our governing group sees personal smartphones as a security risk. Any phone that touches our network is currently seen as government property so the only phones accepted for business email are those provided by the company. With the Good for Enterprise software I can see very little reason for this, as far as I'm concerned the device doesn't actually touch the network since the Good software acts as a secured buffer.

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