Feds Begin Work On BYOD Policy

Federal CIO VanRoekel announces an innovation center to help agencies share digital services, as well as a new advisory group working on a bring-your-own-device policy.

Patience Wait, Contributor

June 25, 2012

3 Min Read

10 New Mobile Government Apps

10 New Mobile Government Apps

10 New Mobile Government Apps (click image for larger view and for slideshow)

One month after introducing a new digital government strategy, federal CIO Steven VanRoekel announced the formation of a Digital Services Innovation Center and said a new advisory group has begun working on a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy for federal employees.

VanRoekel provided the update in a June 21 blog post on WhiteHouse.gov. He described the Digital Services Innovation Center as a "virtual hub" where agencies can share the digital services they've created, under a "build once, use many" philosophy.

A core team of General Services Administration staff is getting the innovation center off the ground. It will draw experts from across federal government to work on projects, starting with identifying and providing tools to measure performance and customer satisfaction.

The digital government strategy, launched May 23, requires agencies to release more data for public consumption through Web APIs; extend government services to mobile devices; and make it easier for federal employees to acquire and use mobile devices on the job.

[ Even if Congress prevents threatened 10% across-the-board budget cuts in 2013, Federal IT Spending Likely To Decline. ]

The new digital services advisory group held its first meeting this month, VanRoekel wrote, and started work on two projects--developing guidance and best practices to let government workers use their own mobile devices at work, and creating agency-wide governance models for digital services. Many agencies have yet to establish their own BYOD policies.

The advisory group includes representatives from the CIO Council, the Federal Web Managers Council, and several agencies. Its objectives are to guide implementation of the digital government strategy, recommend best practices and standards, and prioritize the work undertaken by the innovation center.

Separately, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) CIO Richard Spires provided an update on his agency's digital services efforts in two areas: shared platforms and mobility.

DHS is offering Web content management "as a service" to its internal organizations, using the Drupal open source content management system, Spires wrote. For mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones, DHS plans to provide virtual desktops from two enterprise data centers. Spires calls that forthcoming service "workplace-as-a-service."

"This virtual desktop enables DHS personnel to perform their mission wherever there is access to the Internet or the DHS internal network, including through the use of handheld devices like smartphones and tablets," Spires wrote. By implementing virtual desktops, the department looks to reduce operating costs, increase flexibility, and simplify administrative management, while eliminating outdated and underutilized equipment, he wrote.

The Office of Management and Budget demands that federal agencies tap into a more efficient IT delivery model. The new Shared Services Mandate issue of InformationWeek Government explains how they're doing it. Also in this issue: Uncle Sam should develop an IT savings dashboard that shows the returns on its multibillion-dollar IT investment. (Free registration required.)

About the Author(s)

Patience Wait


Washington-based Patience Wait contributes articles about government IT to InformationWeek.

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