recommended reading

Executive feds are smartphone savvy, but lag on tablets

One-third of senior federal executives use their personal smartphones and laptop computers to conduct agency business, according to a recent survey by the Government Business Council, Government Executive Media Group's research division.

More than three-fourths of high-ranking government officials use agency-issued smartphones, and more than 70 percent use agency-issued laptops.

Only 5 percent of survey respondents said they are using agency-issued tablets, like iPads, and only 6 percent are using personal tablet computers for work, according to the survey. None of the survey respondents said they are using agency-issued tablet readers such as the Amazon Kindle and only 3 percent said they are using personal tablet readers for work.

The 148 survey respondents were all high-ranking government officials, either at the General Schedule 15 level or in the Senior Executive Service.

The results suggest government executives could benefit from a more diverse array of agency-provided devices. They also indicate some executives might be using personal tablets for work despite security concerns and prohibitions.

Veterans Affairs Department Chief Information Officer Roger Baker has warned that if the government doesn't find a way to allow employees to securely use iPads and other technology, they will find a way to use them nonetheless.

He specifically cited VA doctors who could cut down on time, miscommunication and even medical errors by accessing and entering patient information on a handheld tablet. VA won't allow patient information to be held on any platform that's not highly secure, though.

Baker has committed his agency to widening its array of acceptable computing devices and predicted most federal agencies will be "device agnostic" within two years. Other agency CIOs have made similar goals, including State Department CIO Susan Swart.

Device agnosticism likely would include allowing employees to use Apple's iPhone and Goolge's Android phone, which consumers say offer more navigability than the government-preferred BlackBerry but are currently less secure.

Baker himself used a Kindle to read agency documents during his train rides home, before his chief security officer forced him to quit, calling the tablet reader "one huge unencrypted USB stick with no pin," he said.

Other results from the Government Business Council's survey of federal executives are available in "The Chiefs" special issue of Government Executive magazine published June 15.

Source: Government Business Council; survey conducted April 26, 2011

Threatwatch Alert

Social Media Takeover

Qatar News Agency Says Hackers Published Fake Stories

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.