A new report by Forrester Research suggests that government agencies are less keen on letting employees use personal devices for official work than they were just a year ago, according to the Washington Post. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy has been a largely adopted if lightly contested trend in the corporate environment for some time now. While differing restrictions and guidelines separate the private industry from government agencies, there have long been similarities between the way the two handle new technologies.
Government agencies have been wary of adopting BYOD policies because of security and liability concerns, thought the report mentions that this has become a lower priority in the past few years. 11 percent of officials who make technology decisions at their agencies said they considered implementing the device policy a ‘critical’ priority last year, down from 17 percent the previous year. Over 40 percent of officials said a BYOD program was not on their agenda, regarding the programs as more trouble than they are worth.
Mainly security can be blamed for the decline in interest for BYOD policies in the public sector. 66 percent of public sector leaders say the use of personal computers reduces security, as opposed to 52 percent of private industry executives citing security as a top concern regarding BYOD. However, some agencies are beginning to benefit from partial programs, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach for adopting BYOD strategies. The Census Bureau is currently considering BYOD options for temporary census workers conducting door-to-door interviews, in which an app is used to collect information.
BYOD is a complicated policy. We want our employees to feel comfortable with their equipment, and personal devices used for professional reasons can spur more work during free time. However, the government sector’s reluctance to adopt such policies should inform all of us that problems can arise. Be sure your network is secure, whatever the devices connecting to the network might be.