Official Washington is one of the last redoubts of the thumb-tapping BlackBerry user. The new Digital Government Strategy, released on Wednesday, contains hints that the BlackBerry is on the way out as federal government’s leading mobile device.
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For R.I.M., the Canadian company that makes the BlackBerry, the key phrase in the document is “device-agnostic security and privacy controls.” For IT specialists, a big part of the appeal of Blackberry has been in its secure connection to data servers. The government now is looking to secure its data at the source, rather than secure individual devices.
As part of the plan, the General Services Administration has been tasked with creating “government-wide mobile-device management platform” that is designed to work across operating systems. The Federal Chief Information Officer Council is due to release guidelines for federal workers who want to use their personal devices to access their work e-mail and information.
“It seems like this is less about the government being disenchanted with BlackBerry per se and more their moving in the same direction as private industry – to a BYOD [bring your own device] policy," Noah Elkin, a senior analyst with the research firm eMarketer, said. For government, he said, “this involves adding security at the source, rather than relying on a third party as a middle layer.”