Mobile Devices and State Government

Mobile devices continue to play a large role in on how state government agencies provide services to constituents and manage an increasingly mobile workforce. Mobile devices are anything from a smartphone to an iPad or Kindle and no matter what the use or the size or shape of the device, they  have become an integral part of everyday life.

BIT conducted a series of Remote Access Device, or RAD for short, meetings in late 2011 to state agency decision makers; providing suggestions and options on the use of a previously developed BIT  policy, best practices, and pros and cons of RAD use. These meetings sought to empower agency decision makers to go beyond the basic statewide RAD policy and refine how mobile devices may or may not be used within each agency. Decision makers were encouraged to promote safe use of these devices where it made sense, potentially saving money by using personal ones while allowing more options in the types of technologies available when conducting state business.

State agencies are in the process of developing their own policies based on the RAD Use Policy BIT created in 2011. The policy deals with unique laws, regulations, security and audit requirements that apply to the types of data state agencies work with.

Here are some useful tips to help protect your data and your mobile computing device. 
  • Keep your mobile device physically secure. Millions of mobile devices are lost each year.
  • Control what data is stored on the device. Do not store unnecessary or sensitive information.
  • Use a secure password or PIN to access your device. If the device is used for business purposes, you should follow the password policy as outlined in the RAD Policy cited above.
  • Disable features and services that are not needed (Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, etc). If the Bluetooth functionality is used, be sure to change the default password.
  • Enable storage encryption. This will help protect the data stored on your device in the event it is lost or stolen, assuming you have it password protected.
  • If available, consider installing anti-virus software for your mobile device. This may prevent or detect/quarantine malware specific to mobile devices.
  • Keep all system and application software patched and up-to-date. Many manufacturers frequently provide updates to address known vulnerabilities.
  • Download applications only from vendor-authorized sites. Sites offering “free games” or “ring tones” are sources for distributing malware.
  • Do not open attachments from untrusted sources. 
  • Do not follow links to untrusted sources, especially from unsolicited email or text messages.
  • If your device is lost, report it immediately to your carrier or organization and the BIT Help Desk.
  • Before disposing the device be sure to wipe all data from it.
Over time, technology and security features will improve mobile device abilities even while emerging security threats will require further steps be taken to safeguard data.

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