Washington, DC - Earlier in the month the U.S Department of Defense (DoD) released their mobile device strategy. The seven page document identifies the DoD goals for capitalizing on the use of mobile devices and applications, within the DoD IT infrastructure.
The unclassified documents try to address the growing need to a centralized mobile device and application management. "Although mobile devices are the new and popular item in today's commercial market, this strategy is not simply about embracing the newest technology; it is about keeping the DoD workforce relevant in an era when information and cyberspace play a critical role in mission success," writes DoD Chief Information Officer Teresa Takai in the forward. The DoD's mobile device strategy can be reduced to three main goals:
- Advance and evolve the DoD information enterprise infrastructure to support mobile devices: Improves wireless infrastructure to support the secure access and sharing of information via voice, video or data by mobile devices.
- Institute mobile device policies and standards: Establishes policies, processes and standards to support secure mobile device usage, device-to-device interoperability and consistent device lifecycle management.
- Promote the development and use of DoD mobile and web-enabled applications: Provides the processes and tools to enable consistent development, testing and distribution of DoD-approved mobile applications for faster deployment to the user as well as establishes policy, processes and mechanisms for appropriately web-enabling critical DoD IT systems and functions for mobile devices.
Flaws In The Strategy
The implementation of even more mobile devices in the hands of DoD personnel, does add additional security concern's.One objective of this strategy (objective 3) is to educate and train mobile devices users, but will " require a new level of trust with the end user." This new level of trust could potentially be the first flaw within this new strategy as history has proven that people simply can't be trusted. Allowing more devices in the hands of more person ell simply isn't a good idea.
Yes, the strategy proposes an implementation of mobile devices based on the type of user, but it still leaves the users themselves as variable. Another objective is to "Develop mobile device policy and standards". This objective states that most commercial mobile devices like "Apple iOS, Google Android,Google ChromeOS, RIM BlackBerry, RIM QNX, Windows Phone7, and SymbianOS.", "do not come equipped out-of-the-boxwith the security controls, accessprotocols, and necessary security features required by DoD." The Placing the devices from RIM in the same security category of its competitors simply inst fair.
How RIM Can Help
A quick review of RIM's government features will find that it includes, end-to-end encryption, S/MIME, PGP, and smart card reader options would make BlackBerry the clear choice for the DoD. In addition to that BlackBerry devices have more certifications than any other mobile device on the planet.
In addition to concern's about mobile device OS security, the strategy also expressed concerns about how the DoD was to centrally mange new or additional devices. RIM has a solution to that as well, its called BlackBerry Mobile Fusion. The all-in-one solution can allow an organization mobile device diversity while still maintaining proper security protocols.
Security is obviously the most important concern to the DoD, so why not partner with RIM. RIM has one of the most secure infrastructures out there now. RIM needs to invite the U.S DoD to use its secure networks, and partner to further develop a wireless security architecture that works. This is an opportunity for RIM consult in an area that it knows best. In addition to the sharing out its infrastructure, RIM needs to hold exclusive developer conferences for its government customers. The need for government proprietary mobile applications is rising, and having more developers in the government sector is always a good idea.