Mobile security company Good Technology has been certified by the Australian government’s Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) to protect iPhones and iPads used by government employees.
The DSD Cryptographic Evaluation certification will allow iOS devices that use Good for Enterprise mobile device management (MDM) software to communicate and store classified information.
Good Technology head of public sector Chris Roberts told CIO Australia that the certification took two years to approve and the vendor had to submit its MDM source code to the DSD.
“In going through the approval process what this certification is really delivering to the Australian government is an ability to use iOS devices at a protected level so we’re not just living in a BlackBerry only government world,” he said.
“They can now take advantage of email and other productivity capabilities on iOS devices which is a huge step forward from a mobility point of view. It can also open the door to more bring your own device [BYOD] opportunities.”
According to Roberts, the DSD was receiving lots of requests from government agencies to use Apple technology at work so it began to look at different solutions.
“The overwhelming majority of the agencies and departments in Canberra have either piloted or are working with Good Technology on protecting iOS devices. That’s been in anticipation of this certification step completed.”
If a government employee attempts to jail break or unlock the iPhone, Good for Enterprise MDM has jail break detection software installed which will shut down the device.
“In a BYOD situation we wouldn’t wipe the device but we would just lock out access to the container where you would access government information,” Roberts said.
“For government supplied equipment we could wipe the device immediately and lock out access.”
If the iOS device gets lost or stolen it can be remotely wiped. If someone tries to brute force the phone or tablet, Roberts said that the criminal will still need to get into the sensitive data which rests in an encrypted container. This data is protected with a complex password.
Department of Sustainability
According to the CIO of the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Al Blake, the DSD certification and deployment has been a success for his department.
“As we developed our MDM strategy, it became clear that while many solutions would manage the fine detail of the device for us, we would face an increasing admin and support burden in deploying and managing additional devices,” he said in a statement.
“While BYOD was the obvious remedy to that overhead, it would not be possible without clear separation between the government and personal data.”
According to Blake, the use of an encrypted container allows employees to use their preferred device, minimises the ICT support overhead and maintains the strong security boundary required for government information.
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