Potential for Mobile Apps

Federal CIOs are thinking strategically on how to purchase, manage, and use mobile devices. Today, agencies are embracing the wider use of mobile devices and have begun to develop structures and procedures that will allow for the secure adoption of commercially created mobile apps.

Federal employees have access to mobile handheld devices with extensive functionality and can be productive 24/7 anywhere. As of May 2013, there are well over one million commercial mobile apps available with thousands of software updates happening every day across all major mobile platforms.

The commercial mobile app marketplace provides a wealth of opportunities that the Federal government can take advantage of by leveraging existing commercial mobile applications. The government saves money by using existing mobile software that is free or inexpensive.

On May 23, 2013, the Federal CIO Council released the report “Adoption of Commercial Mobile Applications within the Federal Government”. The document highlights the current status for adopting commercial mobile apps into agency operations based on discussions with agency representatives in March and April 2013.

The report details key findings and recommendations that should accelerate the secure delivery of mobile apps into the Federal environment. The analysis is focused on the deployment of commercial apps to government furnished equipment and does not cover deployment of commercial apps to employee owned devices.

Several challenges were noted such as difficulties in regulating mobile apps on government furnished handheld devices, fragmentation of mobile operating systems, how to handle frequent updates, how to handle handheld device models and mobile apps which all require additional security reviews, the difficulty in handling the storage of information in non-government clouds, how to control the sharing of data across apps, and how to provide access to services on the device.

Based on these challenges, recommendations were developed to help establish a government-wide catalog for commercial mobile apps that would highlight key functionality and characteristics relevant for government use, document best practices regarding commercial mobile app review, develop standard government-wide terms of service for mobile apps, and how to initiate government-wide cloud storage services.

Go to https://cio.gov/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2013105/Commercial-Mobile-Application-Adoption-DGS-Milestone-5.4.pdf  or go to https://cio.gov/the-potential-of-mobile-apps to view the full report.

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