Juggling IT security vs. access


Placing too many security restrictions on mobile devices can deter employees from teleworking and fully using laptops and Blackberries, said federal cybersecurity officials today.

David Stender, assistant chief information officer for cybersecurity at the Internal Revenue Service, told FOSE convention attendees that restrictions can help protect your data but keep you from getting your money’s worth from mobile devices.

IRS uses a series of protections, including HSPD-12 cards, to allow users to authenticate themselves and access the IRS’ network, but those protections come with a price, he said. They do decrease battery life, which is frustrating for officers and investigators in the field, and provide many obstacles for employees looking to quickly send an e-mail or access a report. Some employees may grow so frustrated with security hurdles and diminished battery life that they don’t use the mobile devices they’re provided.

We’re not getting the productivity we should.”

The IRS is working to make its security protections more user friendly, and Stender said other IT professionals should consider the balance between security and productivity instead of just loading down devices with every protection possible.


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