Report from Federal Forum: making mobile make sense for government

We live in a connected world, at work and at home. Technology and innovation have created an expectation with workers and they require the same mobile experience in the workplace that they enjoy at home. This topic was top-of-mind at a session I hosted at a recent Microsoft Federal Forum. Everyone wanted to know, how can we secure the workplace while meeting the growing mobility needs of a digital government?

To answer, I quoted Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella: “Our industry does not respect tradition—it only respects innovation.” Microsoft lives that mantra, and you can see it in our approach to mobility.

Increasing collaboration and productivity

For mobility to work best in the public or private sector, the primary focus shouldn’t be on the software or the device individually but on how they work together. To illustrate how Microsoft supports software that works seamlessly across heterogeneous environments and devices, consider the benefits of System Center 2012 R2, which allows governments to:

    • Manage devices and software seamlessly and securely across devices while leveraging existing management investments
    • Optimize applications and workloads through their lifecycle
    • Deploy Line of Business and store applications from the Windows Store and other public stores

    Another example is the Enterprise Feature Pack for Windows Phone 8.1, which will improve enterprise manageability for Windows Phones by introducing S/MIME support to sign and encrypt email, auto-triggered and app-enabled VPN, EAP-TLS for secure Wi-Fi, enhanced MDM policies, and improved certification management so IT can easily enroll, update, and revoke certifications for user authentication.

    DirectAccess, included with Windows 8 Enterprise, provides a secure and manageable connection for Windows 7 and Windows 8 laptops or tablets no matter where they are in the world as long as they’re on the Internet (meaning no need to VPN in). This allows organizations to reduce their VPN licensing costs while simplifying how they manage their highly mobile Windows devices.

    The next-generation workforce

    At the forum, I also shared some of my own experiences and observations for transitioning to a fully mobile world—and doing it safely and securely. For example:

      • Windows 8 Live Tiles are a game changer for me because they deliver relevant data exactly when I need it. It’s a personalized experience that makes me more productive with my devices.
      • OneNote on a Surface tablet allows me to take notes with a digital pen, translating handwriting to text. It auto-saves to the cloud, so I don’t have to worry about losing my notes. And I can share with team members at the push of a button. It’s one of the best collaboration tools I’ve found.
      • Secure remote access across devices allows me to safely act on data in real time, whether I’m onsite or traveling. I always have the information I need, when I need it, regardless of where I am.

      Business learnings:  Booz Allen Hamilton

      At the forum, Walton Smith, a principal with Booz Allen Hamilton, discussed his firm’s challenges with mobility given a large number of remote employees. He shared three points to keep in mind:

        • Mobility has progressed. It goes far beyond email.
        • Enterprise-grade applications are needed to make sure your security needs are met.
        • Users require devices that have an intuitive, useful interface and real-time access to their data.

        The mobile-first world

        Mobile integration is getting easier with future-ready devices and software. The key is bringing solutions, people, and devices together, and creating a secure experience across all devices. That’s where Microsoft is focused. Watch for news on two announcements coming soon, including Surface TAA certification and FEDRAMP support for Windows Intune. And keep checking Mobility Solutions for Government for current thinking from Microsoft.

        Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Or e-mail us at

      Jane Boulware
      VP, US Windows Devices