The Role of Cloud in Mobile Device Security

Published: August 15, 2019

Cloud ComputingCybersecurityMobility

Agencies turn to cloud as an enabler for enhanced mobile device security.

The security of mobile devices has long been a struggle in the federal space. In fact, a poll of 200 federal workers, commissioned by Booz Allen Hamilton, revealed that 86% of respondents felt a mobile device was critical to performing their job. Nonetheless, 43% of those surveyed stated they experienced issues with securing and monitoring mobile devices. Mobile device security requires a different approach than endpoint security for laptops and desktops. Mobile devices must rely on an Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM) platform with Mobile Device Management (MDM) in place to control and configure security features on a device.

MDM functions include, encryption, device wiping and remote locking capabilities. However, the constant evolution of the mobile device landscape makes it difficult for agencies to manage security coverage. A mobile security study done by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) found gaps in security across several enterprise mobile categories, including the device technology stack, mobile applications and mobile networks.

As agencies grapple with securing their mobile devices, many have turned to the cloud’s scalability and software-as-a-service as a way forward in mobile security services. According to Deltek’s analysis of cloud obligations from FY 2016 to FY 2018, cloud-based MDM spending among agencies has significantly increased:

As the chart depicts, federal spending on cloud mobile device management grew nearly nine times during the three-year period. Of the agencies that showed top spending in FY 2018, SEC ranked highest with $14M in obligations, followed by DHS with $11M and DOD with $10M.

Top contract vehicles that procured cloud MDM include SEWP V and GSA Schedule 70, with a total of $17M each from FY 2016 to FY 2018.

Stay Tuned. Deltek’s upcoming report,” Federal Priorities Spotlight: Mobility, 2019” will highlight additional technology enablers, policies and acquisition methods that will potentially spur future spending in federal mobile security.