Ron Baldwin was appointed CIO of Montana in 2013, after leading technology efforts in the state’s Department of Public Health and Human Services for four years. He has 30 years of experience in private- and public-sector IT. Government Technology asked Baldwin about Montana’s mobile technology strategy in an interview earlier this year.

Will Montana implement a bring-your-own-device policy?

We’re embracing bring your own device. BYOD is here, and it’s here to stay. I would just like to make sure that this new technology can be embraced in a way that keeps it safe but available and accessible. I can tell you in Montana, when I’m sitting at the cabinet table, there are directors who come with their tablets and their smartphones. Legislators are asking to bring their devices and be connected to our network.

What is the biggest challenge to implementing BYOD?

The tough part will be how we pull mobile devices into the network — how we pull them inside the firewall. Part of that is making sure we have infrastructure and strategies to accommodate that. In Montana we have guest wireless, but we also have secure wireless, so we have the ability for a mobile device to connect securely to our network.

How are you handling security?

One of the things that we’re going to do is implement a mobile device management policy and some additional software tools that help secure the mobile device. Information that’s specific to government and to your work as a government employee will be segregated from your private information and made more secure.

Why is BYOD and mobility important to the state?

In my own experience, mobile technology provides a big increase in availability and productivity. So it’s something that I think could really help government employees do their job more effectively and also attract a younger workforce. Younger workers are going to expect to be able to use their own mobile devices to help them do their job.

Steve Towns, Editor Steve Towns  |  Editor

Steve Towns is editor of Government Technology, and executive editor for e.Republic Inc., publisher of GOVERNING, Government Technology,Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines. He has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at newspapers and magazines, including more than 15 years of covering technology in the state and local government market.