CIOs find technical and cultural barriers to wireless computing

CIOs find technical and cultural barriers to wireless computing

Wanda Smith of FTS sees the cultural divide between users and systems administrators as a problem.

The potential for growth in wireless computing is enormous, but there are also significant hurdles to its broad deployment, a General Services Administration official said last week at a forum in Washington.

'Widespread government use is still down the road,' said Dennis Groh, the Federal Technology Service's deputy assistant commissioner for service delivery. 'Most of us are risk-averse, and new technologies are a little scary.'

The cultural divide that exists between users and systems administrators is another barrier to growth in wireless computing, said Wanda Smith, executive director of regional services for FTS.

'End users see mobile computing as a tool to access corporate information and e-mail,' she said. 'But network administrators cringe when users demand remote access, particularly wireless. Network administrators have to deal with security, capacity and support issues.'

Security is a paramount issue for wireless computing in a federal environment, said Jim Craft, director of information systems security at the Agency for International Development and chairman of the Chief Information Officers Council's Security Practices Subcommittee.

'Wireless technology is re-inserting the whole idea of signal security,' Craft said. 'Interception, even interception of encrypted transmissions, is a factor.'

Agencies must develop security policies to match the accelerating rate of change in technology, he said.

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