Workforce Wonk

By Alyah Khan

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Feds have mixed view of security, survey finds

In the coming months, the number of federal employees eligible to telework will increase under a new law, and questions about ensuring IT security and ease of use outside the office are already percolating.

A small sampling of federal executives, however, don’t seem to think the government needs to do much more to strengthen IT security when employees are working outside the office, according to a recent survey on mobile computing conducted by the Government Business Council and CDW Government.

Respondents' opinions were mixed on the IT security issue, but they did suggest that the government should make the IT resources available outside the office more user-friendly, echoing the recommendations of telework advocates.

The e-mail survey of about 230 randomly selected federal executives also found that many of them go beyond agency security requirements by only using secure network connections or locking their computer screens when they are away from their desks.

Further, while working at the office, 68 percent of respondents said they only used agency-issued machines, and 48 percent lock their smart phone screens.

Almost all the federal executives surveyed said their agencies require at least one type of authentication measure whether they are inside or outside the office, such as passwords, encryption software or a biometric identifier.

A majority of the federal executives said they work outside the office, usually checking e-mail or working on documents, and they often use agency-issued laptop PCs or agency-issued smart phones to do so. Respondents overall said they are confident in their ability to secure agency-issued mobile devices.

Nonetheless, 86 percent of respondents who work outside the office said they think agency security measures prevent them from accessing information at least some of the time.

And nearly one-third of those respondents identified insufficient technology as a factor that discouraged them from working outside the office.

Posted by Alyah Khan on Jan 06, 2011 at 12:20 PM


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Reader comments

Fri, Jan 7, 2011

"locking their computer screens when they are away from their desks" -- is this not in FDCC? Hard to imagine secure network connections are not required for remote access, either. And while "68 percent of respondents said they only used agency-issued machines", our agency requires us to only use agency-issued machines, nothing else.

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