Personal mobile devices give agencies an IT headache

The use of mobile devices by government employees has become widespread and public sector IT departments are struggling with managing, securing and monitoring the devices, according to a new survey sponsored by Dell KACE.

The survey of 97 government-based IT professionals was part of a broader survey of 741 global IT professionals conducted in September that examined the practice of employees using personally owned mobile devices and applications. The company proved the government results on Sept. 21.


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The survey found broad use of those devices in the public sector. Seventy-seven percent of the government-based IT respondents said that employees use personal mobile devices at work. Sixty-three percent said employees are using smart phones at work.

Mennwhile, 67 percent of the respondents said they aren't confident they know all of the devices being used.

Although 76 percent said they currently have a policy in place for employee-owned devices, 72 percent said they lack the necessary tools to manage the those devices effectively, the public sector research showed.

In addition, 27 percent of the respondents said the public sector employees use unauthorized devices and applications to connect to the agency network, while 41 percent conceded it's possible more devices are being connected without their knowledge.

“Devices brought to work by employees are not managed appropriately,” the report concluded.

The survey indicated that IT department officials are worried about use of personal devices at the government agencies. Eighty-six percent of the respondents said they were  concerned about using personal devices for work purposes, while 69 percent were concerned about network security breaches.

The employee-owned devices also are causing the government IT professionals to manage more systems — 57 percent said they are supporting more operating systems because of the use of personal devices by the workers, and 53 percent said there was a greater demand for support for Apple OSx since the introduction of the iPhone and iPad.

The broader survey of corporate and government IT professionals indicated similar trends. A larger percentage, 87 percent, of the IT professionals overall said employees use personally owned mobile devices at workplaces across all sectors of business and government. The comparable figure was 77 percent for government.

The survey was commissioned by Dell KACE, a unit of Dell Inc., and performed by Dimensional Research.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

Reader Comments

Mon, Sep 26, 2011 walter Washington

My agency is making a 1/2 hearted effort to encourage teleworking. Some people have laptops they can use at work or at home, others have to purchase a CAC card reader and use their own computer at home. All have to use their own phones in whatever form they may come. We solve the IT problem by not offering IT support for any equipment that doesn't belong to the government. It generates problems with people teleworking, but management seems to be fine with a program they seem to think is temporary anyway. The obvious workaround being that the employee can't telework.

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