February 3, 2009 By Wayne Hanson
When President Obama insisted on continuing to use his Blackberry from the Oval Office, special security measures had to be employed. As mobile devices gain in popularity, state and local governments are also having to scrutinize their use by government staff. Maine's Office of Information Technology (OIT) published a Blackberry Standard and today released the following statement by Sandra Saunders on use of third-party software on the devices:
"To adhere to the new Blackberry standard, OIT's Messaging Team is beginning the process of gathering a list of third-party software that is currently being used on the Blackberry devices. The reason for obtaining this list is to determine which software is deemed a business need by the user. Once this determination is complete, a Blackberry Enterprise Server technical policy will be applied to prohibit the downloading of third-party software onto Blackberry devices. To differentiate this policy from an OIT written policy, the server technical policy is a process that controls features through designating choices at a server level interface. This technical policy will affect all Blackberry users globally.
"To allow for the use of the third-party software that has been deemed a need of the business," continued the release, "a separate policy or policies will be applied at the server level that will allow the continued use of the software. If we are not aware of any third party software currently being used, once the policy to prohibit is applied, the third-party software may no longer be functional.
"This standard is in line with the Policy Governing the Use of Non-State Owned/Approved Software and Devices for State Business. This is an effort to help minimize security risks to the state's network or data sources as well as protect the devices themselves. In the past, third-party software that has been downloaded and has destroyed some devices to the point where the device was not repairable and had to be replaced.
"Once we have compiled a list," concluded the release, "we will work with Agency Information Technology Directors who will work with the agencies to determine which software has a business need."
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