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Week in government tech: Could BYOD come to the public sector?

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Week in government tech: Could BYOD come to the public sector?

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New guidelines from the Government Communications Headquarters' Communications-Electronics Security Group could allow government workers to use their own mobile devices while on the job, as the guidelines consider security requirements for user-owned devices for the first time. The agency stopped short of recommending that agencies adopt BYOD, however, and the guidelines would place a number of restrictions on how employee devices should be used, including requiring that the devices be managed by the employer. The guidelines cover select major operating systems, including Windows 7 and 8 and Windows Phone 8.

Multifactor authentication is now available via the Windows Azure cloud platform, Microsoft announced. Developers can use Azure to incorporate multifactor authentication into their application's sign-in or transaction processes. The security feature can also be enabled for a wide variety of applications, including Office 365, and Dynamics CRM, for both existing hardware and virtual machines.

Local Councils are working to get citizens to take advantage of government services online -- but citizen adoption of digital services requires that councils have effective, easy-to-use websites, experts say. A recent study showed that the number of visits to council websites increased by more than 15 million between August of 2012 and August of this year. “This data shows how very large the volumes of visits to council websites now are, and the potentially high cost of getting it wrong and forcing people back to costly traditional channels to service their enquiries," said Martin Greenwood of Socitm Insight.

Starting 9 Oct., Windows apps will be available on more than just 5 devices at once -- a lot more. To celebrate the October launch of Windows 8.1, apps can now run on as many as 81 devices, allowing users to run their favourite apps on every device they own and then some. "Developers asked for more flexibility in implementing their business models, and customers wanted to run those apps on the variety of tablets, laptops and desktops they owned," wrote the Windows Apps Team in an official blog post today.

Agile project management holds a number of significant advantages for public sector organisations, but too many decision makers are still under the impression that "agile" is a generic buzzword for increasing efficiency, writes Joshua Chambers. Rather, agile is a specific set of protocols for development "sprints" that result in rapid iterations of a concept. Chambers provides a rundown of the core concepts and advantages associated with agile.

 

 

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  • With BYOD so pervasive in the private sector, it was only a matter of time until it reached government agencies as well.  Each agency will have to weigh the benefits vs. challenges of BYOD based on their own unique situation (the sensitivity of data dealt with by that agency, work patterns of it's employees, etc.).

    Two main challenges of BYOD are security (sensitive data on personal devices) and IT management of a wide range of devices.  Both challenges can be met by separating the agency's data and applications from the end user device.  For example, Ericom's AccessNow HTML5 RDP solution enables end users to connect securely from any device (including iPads, iPhone, Android tablets and phones, Macs, Linux and Windows laptops) to RDP hosts such as Terminal Server VDI virtual desktops and run their applications or desktops in a browser tab.

    With AccessNow there's nothing to be installed on the end user device, as the applications or desktops are launched in the HTML5-compatible browser.   So the data remains securely in the data center, even if the phone, tablet or laptop are lost.

    This approach also reduces IT support headaches, as they don't have to deal with installing applications on everybody's device.  They give each user a URL and login credentials, and the user launches the browser on their tablet or phone, and they can connect to their hosted applications or even to full virtual desktops.

    Check out this link for more info:

    www.ericom.com/BYOD_Workplace.asp

    Please note that I work for Ericom

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