The U.S. military is one of many organizations around the world searching for ways to leverage the advantages of smartphones and tablets while minimizing risks. However, the Department of Defense has been streamlining its efforts in recent months to ensure the matter of mobile device security is settled sooner rather than later.
Due to the life-and-death implications of the information exchanged in military communications, data security has been a leading barrier to the widespread adoption of mobile devices across the U.S. Armed Forces. However, according to the Federal Times, officials are beginning to realize that their troops can no longer wait to take advantage of the immense benefits offered by these versatile gadgets.
"People are starting to realize the extraordinary power of putting smartphones, with all their capacity, in the hands of a user," Lockheed Martin representative Sam Guthrie told the Federal Times. "But if you don't allow them to look at the data because it's overly restrictive, then it's all for naught."
Guthrie's technical team is already seeing positive results from early testing phases, according to the Federal Times, with the Marine Corps using the devices to facilitate enhanced communications and coordinate disaster relief efforts.
According to Army Times, the National Security Agency is now well on its way toward certifying Android and iOS mobile operating systems that can stand up to data security requirements and the rigors of battlefield deployment. The Army is also expected to debut its own internally managed application store in the coming months and possibly enable mobile access to highly classified materials by the end of the year.
But despite this impending wave of progress, not all are sold on the merits of such an initiative.
"The question they are struggling with is this: In a military that is trying to get more secure, how do we approve technology and protocols that are inherently less secure," government technology contractor Brian Hajost told the Federal Times.
As the matter continues to be debated, the consensus seems to be that a bring-your-own-device approach to mobile security is still out of the question. According to the Federal Times, the logistical data security considerations far outweigh the cost-efficiency benefits of such an approach.
Additionally, troops may not appreciate invasive data protection provisions governing personal device use. As one official explained to the Federal Times, IT administrators would like to reserve the right to collect and sanitize the device on-command to eliminate pressing security concerns.
Data Security News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro