Intel and BYOD

 In Intelligence, Defense


Intel and BYOD

mobile user (Monkey Business Images/ 

The intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty is warm­ing to the con­cept of bring­ing your own device to work — except when it comes to highly clas­si­fied work.

“Bring your own device is some­thing that we need in the future,” Brig. Gen. Jeth Rey, the direc­tor for com­mand, con­trol, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and com­put­er sys­tems (J6) for U.S. Central Command.

“We’re all com­fort­able on the daily basis when we pick up our phone, we join a bank, we look at our finances, we move money around, we take pic­tures of the check, we deposit the check, and we’re com­fort­able with that — the secu­ri­ty level that the bank pro­vides us. So why not build the same envi­ron­ment?”

Rey, who was speak­ing at the vir­tu­al Intelligence and National Security Summit Sept.17, said CENTCOM is look­ing to repli­cate that with the con­tainer­iza­tion of per­son­al data, trans­port agnos­tic envi­ron­ment, data-cen­tric con­nec­tions, and use of per­son­al attrib­ut­es, like bio­met­rics, as cre­den­tials to grant access even down to the doc­u­ment.

Greg Smithberger, the National Security Agency’s CIO and direc­tor for the capa­bil­i­ties direc­torate, recent­ly emphasized the need for proper secu­ri­ty mea­sures that make top-secret tele­work impos­si­ble, but sup­port­ed the BYOD approach with the right secu­ri­ty para­me­ters.

“A lot of thought has to go into it, but it’s viable with the right secu­ri­ty archi­tec­ture,” Smithberger said, naming two-factor authen­ti­ca­tion and use of a vir­tu­al desk­top that’s lim­it­ed to how it can “inter­act with the out­side world and stay off the cor­po­rate net­work.”

However, there are also seri­ous civil lib­er­ty con­cerns around per­son­al data on per­son­al devices that Smithberger said have to be con­sid­ered.

“It’s all about get­ting the right con­cept of lay­ered defens­es that can be imposed upon that per­son­al device with­out any pos­si­bil­i­ty of get­ting access to their per­son­al infor­ma­tion,” he said, “making sure that the gov­ern­ment is not mon­i­tor­ing or get­ting access to pri­vate infor­ma­tion of indi­vid­u­als which we have no right to see or to mon­i­tor.”

The ongo­ing coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic has increased the need to con­sid­er BYOD, in tandem with the rise in tele­work, in the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty.

Doug Cossa, the deputy CIO for the Defense Intelligence Agency said that while he’s not sure what per­cent­age of the work­force will do so, the agency is “archi­tect­ing for an endur­ing level of tele­work.”

Cossa said that tele­work will likely be more per­ma­nent for busi­ness oper­a­tion func­tions, includ­ing human resources, data man­age­ment, con­tract­ing, finance, train­ing. (The latter was shift­ed from a clas­si­fied to an unclas­si­fied net­work during COVID-19 response, he said.)

But when it comes to per­ma­nent­ly allow­ing work mobil­i­ty and flex­i­bil­i­ty, Cossa said, DIA will have to look at facil­i­ties man­age­ment and new employ­ees.

“We treat new employ­ees coming in to where you’re given a fixed work­sta­tion in a fixed loca­tion,” which isn’t always needed, he said. “But in many func­tions of the work­force they can work from within a build­ing. Looking at can we work from tablets from lap­tops to where you can per­haps even go wire­less and work from any­where in one of our facil­i­ties or multi facil­i­ties,” or even out­side the IC.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is a staff writer at FCW cov­er­ing defense and cyber­se­cu­ri­ty.

Prior to join­ing FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she cov­ered every­thing from inter­net cul­ture to nation­al secu­ri­ty issues. In past posi­tions, Williams cov­ered health care, pol­i­tics and crime for var­i­ous pub­li­ca­tions, includ­ing The Seattle Times.

Williams grad­u­at­ed with a mas­ter’s in jour­nal­ism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bach­e­lor’s in dietet­ics from the University of Delaware. She can be con­tact­ed at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for pre­vi­ous arti­cles by Wiliams.

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