USDA Looking into BYOD, May See Policy Implementation Next Year
November 14, 2012
By Rory Lidstone
, TMCnet Contributing Writer
Bring your own device (BYOD) is more than just a trend. It's obvious that, as more businesses adopt this approach, BYOD is fast becoming the norm in a number of industries. Even RIM, the company that has the most to benefit if BYOD is not heavily adopted as its Blackberry devices are typically trusted for their superior security, recently embraced BYOD with the release of Mobile Fusion.
Areas outside of the enterprise have begun embracing BYOD as well; the education sector has apparently jumped on board as many teachers and district administrators have begun taking smartphones to work. The only notable hold out so far is government — but even that may soon change.
The U.S. Agriculture Department, for example, isn't quite ready to let employees bring their own mobile devices to work, but it does have plans to implement BYOD somewhere down the road. USDA deputy chief information officer Charles McClam recently stated that the agency has begun preparations for the day when employees will bring iPads, Android (News - Alert) phones and others to work.
"We recently had some retirements within OCIO and that provided an opportunity for us to relook at the organizational structure and relook at where mobile should fit," said McClam after a panel discussion. "As a result of that, we are looking to make some adjustments to the organizational structure over the next four months or so to stand up a mobile computing division to support this new requirement as we move forward."
He went on to add that the USDA is in the early stages of developing a policy framework, along with 29 other bureau CIOs, to allow for full BYOD implementation. Of course, though, there are concerns in terms of privacy and data wipe issues along with financial considerations like who will pay for data plans. McClam also said that the USDA is taking other federal policies into consideration, such as those from the Defense Department, to inform its policy. A final draft of this policy should be shared internally as soon as late December with implementation in mid-2013.
Meanwhile, the USDA is already giving employees smartphones and tablets to use in the field.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey