Summers gone, and with it the general sense of bonhomie and goodwill.
Literally the first day back for millions, and us Public Sector ICT security types are looking with dread at the headlines. After a summer recess (of sorts), the hackers are back, we’re arguing about G-Cloud again and the tabloids are after a Local Authority for giving staff iPads.
So to a certain extent, it’s business as usual (esp. tabloids writing silly articles without thinking through what the business case is, rather than Local Gov bashing again), and there is perhaps some relief at that. But in our world, it’s telling to note that the cuts are really biting, and it’s actually leading us faster into the world of mobile, and security has to be front and centre as a result. How so?
If we take our bin lorry example, they could have put a laptop into the lorry. To fully license and build a council laptop would cost probably twice what the iPad cost. The reality is that for years, Public organisations requiring a mobile platform have had to buy a laptop. Now they have a choice. A fully monty wintel platform or a massively cut down device, specifically designed to access applications over the internet (Cloud!!!) with a user friendly GUI. Doesnt have to be an iPad. Could be an Android device. And the beauty of this is that the hardware costs start to plummet, and as they do, the applications start to become king (G-Cloud App store anyone? Anyone? Hmm?)
So, cheap hardware, dead easy GUI, internet-based apps and no dependence on the wintel axis of dominance. But the one thing needed to make this dream happen is security. If you can secure the Apps, you can then pretty much consider any of these devices. Increased volume = lower unit costs = cheaper to deploy services and therefore mobility suddenly gets really interesting. There are a number of projects I am aware of across HMG and the wider public sector that are looking at this approach, and the core of it is that IF you can secure the device/apps, the costs plummet.
The final and best point about all this is that it actively promotes the SME agenda. Small developers can write sector specific applications quickly and easily, and these can be rolled out quickly and easily.
Therefore to recap, cheap hardware, cheap software, mobile and therefore productive staff, and the glue at the core is security. The days may be getting darker, the funds may be getting harder to get hold of, but a little common sense and a lot of invention and the Public Sector can deliver on its promise