More feds use mobile devices for work than expected

Nearly half of federal IT workers recently surveyed use their mobile devices daily for work-related functions, according to a new poll.

The survey of 200 federal IT workers, released by communications firm Bluetext, was conducted by research firm Fabrizio, Ward and Associates in December 2011. The findings reveal that 45 percent of federal IT employees are using mobile devices for work on an everyday basis.

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“The fact that federal IT workers are getting 45 percent on daily use of mobile devices was far more than we expected,” said Don Goldberg, a partner with Bluetext. “That to me suggests that federal IT workers are comfortable with security issues they have to deal with.”

The top three most commonly used applications are email (93 percent), project management tools (36 percent) and social media (20 percent), with Facebook being the overwhelming favorite. Thirteen percent said they use VoIP apps.

Most (68 percent) of those who use social media apps for work purposes turn to  Facebook, while 21 percent use Twitter, 16 percent choose Google+ and 11 percent pick LinkedIn. Only 3 percent indicated they use YouTube, and the same number opt for MySpace.

2012 could become the year when mobile devices become the norm and not the exception for federal employees who use them for work purposes, Goldberg said. The survey results indicate that “being locked to a desk or a PC is going to less and less important to federal workers,” he added.

“Not only do they have access where they are, when they want it, but a lot of federal workers have to be mobile and be out in the field inspecting something,” Goldberg said. “They’re just not going to be chained to a desk that often.”

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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Reader comments

Fri, Jan 20, 2012 Robert MD

I think you assumption about the IT workers being OK with mobile device security issues is not relevant here. Reason I say this is operationally they need the devices, so the need clearly is more important then the risk. As for the risks being managed, that part of the DAAs, CISO, ISSO, and IT Operations Managers jobs. The fact that they favor social media heavily concerns me. This seems to imply they are spending our tax dollars doing personal activity during government paid hours. In fact, I would say this is true of a small set of government employees and contractors. One agency I worked for couldn't account for 1900 uses of pornographic sites during an audit. The CISO avoided the issue, so I decided it was best to leave the organization. Bottom line, many of those mobile devices are issued because of poor discipline in IT practices. Many are legit, don't take this the wrong way, I am not saying the entire Fed is messed up. What I am saying is some organizations have VERY BAD IT practices. That same CISO I worked for was too busy trying to please his leadership by trying to make himself look good by massaging reports that it made me sick. How can you live with yourself doing that I will never know. Point is there are bigger discipline problems in the Fed then we care to admit. Good leaders do exist in federal government, however the system is not setup to remove the non-performers, much less address tough issues. On one occassion my government boss wanted me to run things because he wasn't confident in his junior government employee. As a contractor this can be a tough situation because technically I have no authority to direct his government staff. Long story short the junior guy talked about football for a solid week and I busted my butt pulling his slack. Moral of the story, mobile devices aren't our biggest problems out there, the system is out problem

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