Mobile device security will set industry standard, Official Says

25 Jul 2013 | Nick Simeone

Systems being developed to ensure classified information can be transmitted securely on mobile devices used by the federal workforce ultimately will be leveraged by corporate America in industries from banking to health care, a senior engineer at the Defense Information Systems Agency said today.

"The market's looking to us," Greg Youst, DISA's chief mobility engineer, told a conference on cybersecurity here while discussing the challenges for ensuring the security of data transmission via increasingly sophisticated mobile devices that are being introduced to the workplace.

The government and industry are working together to develop a secure communication solution for the department's 600,000 mobile device users, one that is capable of keeping up with rapidly changing technology. A Defense Department strategy released in February calls for establishing a framework for reliable and secure classified mobile communication worldwide.

Youst, along with officials from several other government agencies, said the challenge of enabling wireless devices to transmit classified data securely can prompt debate over risk vs. cost.

"One of the things we're really looking at is how can we leverage social media to do our jobs and yet do it securely," he said.

Youst said he has been in discussions with Google, Apple and Samsung, and that the strict security requirements needed for the federal workforce will end up benefiting the commercial market.

"What's driving them to work with DOD and the federal government is that if they can get to our level of security, then they can go market out to the corporate world, and you're starting to see that," he said. "They're leveraging the capability that they're building for us by saying, 'If we can make it secure enough for the Department of Defense, we can give you a system for phone or mobile device management that will secure your banking information [or] your health information."

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