Security, more than any other factor, is the greatest concern for CIOs like Day, who worry that loose management policies would open the door to intrusions into the device that could compromise sensitive government or enterprise data.
"What about a keyboard logger being installed on your private side of the device, and it's not the part that I'm managing?" he asks.
Federal CIOs' stance on BYOD, which varies from agency to agency, remains a work in progress, as is the gradual shift to the cloud and other government IT priorities that the Obama administration has outlined.
Last January, Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel announced the launch of a government mobile strategy, tasking departments and agencies to develop guidelines for the devices they would allow into the workplace, along with a host of other mobility issues, including policies for apps and suggestions for deploying mobile technology to drive efficiencies and deliver better services to citizens.
In sharp contrast to the approach that Day describes at the Coast Guard, BYOD has gotten a warm embrace at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), at least at the policy level. EEOC CIO Kimberly Hancher describes a checklist of considerations the agency weighed before rolling out a BYOD policy.
Last year, when funding cuts sapped about 15% of the EEOC's IT budget, Hancher and other agency leaders began to consider BYOD as a cost-saving measure. They evaluated whether the EEOC maintains any classified data that would be at risk if a user's personal device was compromised. It does not. Nor does the agency house what it considers sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) in its data centers (PII was scrubbed from the EEOC's servers a couple of years ago, according to Hancher).
Finally, agency heads affirmed that the devices EEOC employees carry with them would not offer access to critical infrastructure systems, and with that, they implemented a BYOD policy.
"For us, it was a risk-based decision to move into bring your own device," Hancher says.
Government Works Stick With Blackberry
BYOD is often understood in terms of a friction between workers and the CIO or senior security officials: Employees want to use their own devices for work, but management resists. But that wasn't the case at the EEOC.
In implementing the agency's BYOD policy, Hancher polled employees about their thoughts on the issue. Just 23% signed up to bring a personal device into the workplace, while the remaining 77% opted to stick with their government-issued BlackBerry.