4 Considerations for Choosing the Right Mobile Solution for Your Government Agency

Today, approximately 40 percent of government workers use mobile devices to perform work-related tasks. These include not only office workers checking email, but also soldiers on deployment, field workers gathering critical real-time data and first responders engaged in life-or-death activities. It’s vital that government chooses the right mobile solution for each sector in support of these tasks.

Since mobile offerings can widely vary, government IT leaders need to consider a range of factors when choosing a mobile solution. In order to round out any given mobile solution, ITDMs also need to focus on mobile management, as well as the ability to orchestrate and organize an inventory of user-held devices.

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Let’s take a look at both of these key issues around mobile government: how to choose a mobile solution and how to incorporate the critical role of enterprise mobility management (EMM).

Four Main Factors to Consider

In order to mobilize today’s federal workers, government technology decision-makers need to look at four critical areas:

  1. Platform: Not every device is ideally suited to every government worker need. For example, a forestry worker may require a more rugged device, while a procurement professional may need something with a bigger display for complex spreadsheets. From phones to tablets, device size and computing power should be matched to worker needs, so employees aren’t burdened with unnecessary features or multiple devices contributing to extra weight.
  2. Applications: Today’s mobile devices serve largely as delivery mechanisms for the applications that power business processes. In choosing an operating system, it makes sense to team with a solutions provider who can deliver not just the hardware, but also the development expertise to create the apps that empower end users in the field. Government may need specialized apps or added security measures, for example, to ensure that operations are in alliance with compliance regulations. Agencies also may require unique apps for specific missions: A commercial app may not be robust enough for the military, nor transparent enough to meet the needs of an agency processing finance. Additionally, non-specialized applications may not meet the security threshold or the usability criteria inherent in a public-facing tool, where citizen data is collected and kept on file. For all the ways that government requires specialized apps, it makes sense for agency IT decision-makers to seek out a mobile provider that can offer not just a platform, but a high level of development expertise and support.
  3. Security: As digital transformation in government rises, security becomes an increasing concern, both in terms of safeguarding critical information as well as in securing Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Some mobile solutions come with security tools coded right in, such as Samsung Knox, which helps keep personal and work data safe, secure and separate. Other tools leverage biometrics including fingerprint and iris scanning to make accessing a device both secure and simple. Biometric authentication offers a high degree of reliability, while freeing users from the need to memorize and repeatedly key in their diverse passwords.
  4. Manageability: To avoid disparate and disconnected inventory of mobile devices, government IT leaders should look for a mobile solution that enables them to seamlessly manage devices across the mobile workforce with comprehensive transparency and oversight. The most effective mobile management tools empower admins to set device policies, map app licenses, locate devices and perform other key management functions via the cloud. Government leaders also will want to consider compliance as they compare management solutions. Samsung SDS’ EMM solution was first to receive the Common Criteria certification for security compliance from the National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP).

While certain government sectors may face additional requirements, these four areas are a framework for placing the right devices into the right employee hands for greater productivity and increased efficiency.

Today, about 40 percent of government workers use mobile devices for work. These include not just office workers checking email, but soldiers on deployment and first responders engaged in life-or-death activities.

Managing a Wide Web of Devices

This issue of manageability merits a deeper dive. In choosing a solution, IT leaders who overlook this question can find themselves struggling to account for devices; they may be powerless to control user behaviors, and track device usage and software updates, which would ultimately make them vulnerable to a host of security perils. This is where an EMM solution can be a key factor in building a mobile government plan that gets the job done.

Such tools should offer the ability to manage policies, applications and data by a central IT administrator, thus protecting information while also ensuring users a positive experience. Samsung SDS’ EMM offers an example of one such solution. It was the first platform to achieve Common Criteria Certification against the Mobile Device Management Protection Profile 1.1 (MDMPP), and also provides support for wearable devices, adding another endpoint option for government workers.

When it comes to tackling the constant upkeep of a device infrastructure, an enterprise mobility management solution gives administrators greater visibility and department-wide control. Through one consolidated user portal, users can track sensitive data, send out batch software updates, enroll devices and communicate with employees about their devices. Ultimately, the software system can help connect potentially disparate or outdated IT efforts within a department.

Many of these workers operate under compliance considerations, making device management an even more critical task: Enterprise mobility management is the supporting mechanism by which administrators can ensure that government employees stick to the rules of the road when working on their mobile devices, especially when dealing with potentially sensitive data. With CellWe’s Admin Console, users can get notifications specific to compliance violations or potentially missed software updates.

Government work is mission-critical, tightly regulated and becoming increasingly mobile. By considering the four key elements that define a mobile platform, and by pairing their hardware with a highly capable EMM, they can establish an infrastructure that delivers security along with a high degree of productivity across the government landscape.

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Adam Stone

Adam Stone has over 20 years' experience writing extensively on healthcare, retail, hospitality, enterprise mobility, government and a range of other topics. His work has appeared in USA Today, American City Business Journals, Digital Healthcare and Productivity, SoftwareCEO, Internet Security, Hotel F&B, Senior Living Executive and many consumer and trade publications. Follow Adam on Twitter: @adamstonewriter

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