More government agencies are moving to bring your own device (BYOD) policies as the separation of personal and government data improves.
Speaking at the Technology in Government Summit in Canberra, Department of Defence CTO, Matt Yannopoulous, told delegates that it uses a thin client offering called Dreams. This provides most users with the desktop experience they currently have in the office but does not allow data to be stored on users' devices.
“We are taking the view that our groups can buy their own devices and we will offer them choices,” he said. “The device can stay unclassified and they can access the Internet on networks that we provide.”
The Department of Defence has also created a BYOD plan called corporate owner and personally enabled (COPE). This will be supported by a Defence app store and users will be able to work even when they are disconnected from the network.
According to Yannopoulous, Defence is working with Apple, Samsung and BlackBerry to determine how to make COPE a reality.
“We have maintenance staff looking after Super Hornet jets with a mobile device out on the tarmac rather than going back to a desk,” he said. “This will change work processes from flat technical manuals to task based decision making.”
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Australian Taxation Office (ATO) CIO Bill Gibson said that the department has taken a different approach to mobility.
“We have more certainty of Internet access because we tend to be based only in Australia and in built up areas. Thin client is a key part of delivering a secure and functional environment to my staff,” he said.
Gibson added that the ATO uses software developers to build tax services into the systems that accountants use.
“When a tax agent is doing something, they are accessing the ATO to get data. You take that principal wider and the form factor doesn’t matter.”
He said that the ATO is also working to provide information to small business owners in a mobile form.
“What we are trying to provide them is services and tools that can be accessed on a tablet or smartphone which can help them organise their tax affairs. These services have been browser based and we are moving them into a mobile form.
“If more government agencies would look at what others have done in BYOD, it can be done in a way that’s usable, secure and cheap.”
Hamish Barwick travelled to Canberra as a guest of Association & Communications Events
Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick