Mobility

GSA unveils plan to help agencies manage mobile

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A week after the General Services Administration launched a governmentwide wireless services "family plan" that federal agencies can use to buy packages of service minutes and mobile devices, it unveiled another plan to help manage those services, phones and mobile security.

The new Managed Mobility Program, GSA officials said in a May 30 announcement, streamlines the procurement process for agencies to get mobile device management, mobile application management, and mobile lifecycle management solutions through existing government-wide contracts and purchase agreements.

The Managed Mobility Program complements the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative blanket purchase agreement with AT&T, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile and Verizon that the agency announced on May 22. That BPA makes available uniform, less expensive, pre-set packages of voice and data minutes, along with the mobile devices themselves, for government users to choose from.

According to GSA, the new Managed Mobility Program embeds mobile management seamlessly into an agency's IT portfolio by creating and maintaining a list of potential sources of supply that meet the greatest number of government requirements. Agencies can use the program's central repository, information, and staff to help buy the solutions that best meets their requirements.

"GSA has done the initial work to define requirements, identify potential sources of supply, and secure some baseline pricing to help agencies budget for these purchases," said Mary Davie, GSA Assistant Commissioner, Office of Integrated Technology Services.

"With the near-universal adoption of smart mobile technology across the federal workforce, GSA's role as America's buyer for the mobile work environment is more important than ever," said GSA Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini, in a statement. "GSA's Managed Mobility program gives agencies the tools they need to buy once and buy well, saving taxpayer dollars and keeping pace with leading-edge mobile technologies."

The program is the latest step in GSA's journey towards more sensible wireless services and devices procurement and management, said Warren Suss, president of Suss Consulting. The new management plan, he said, is even more compelling since the government released the Federal Mobile Security Baseline, on May 23, that sets a minimum set of security controls for federal agencies' mobile devices.

Taken as a package, the FSSI, the Managed Mobility Program and the Mobile Security Baseline, show the federal government is gaining on a comprehensive mobile policy, said Suss.

However, there are still gaps in how the government manages wired and wireless devices and services, especially in light of the move towards cloud-based capabilities, said Suss. Specifically, he pointed to regulations covering secure identification and access management and the Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) mandate. Although wired communications devices have largely attained compliance with those rules, wireless device compliance is spotty, he said.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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