Meeting the Needs of the Goddard Customer

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BYOD, or “bring your own device,” is an increasing request byGoddard employees and contractors. Simply, BYOD enables staff to use their owncomputers, smartphones, tablets and other technologies at work.  There are many benefits – allowing users tochoose devices they are comfortable with improves job satisfaction. BYOD makes telecommuting morefeasible and reduces duplicativedevices. Goddard benefits from BYOD too – we save money on hardware, softwareand device maintenance. And, staff tends to upgrade to the latest hardware andsoftware quicker than Goddard does.  

But there are a number of challenges with BYOD.  Smartphones and tablets are susceptibleto worms, viruses, Trojans and spyware just like desktops. Eavesdropping is anissue since carrier-based wireless networks lack end-to-end security. Theft ofdevices can result in a loss of sensitive NASA data. Finally, users may beconcerned that Goddard has access to sensitive personal data.   

Virtualization helps us to overcome these challenges. Virtualdesktops and applications are delivered to end users on any device. Little, ifany, data is actually stored on the device; instead, data is requested anddisplayed as needed, reducing the risk of data loss. We conducted a VirtualDesktop Infrastructure (VDI) pilot this summer and will initiate aproof-of-concept study by allowing Goddard employees and visiting scientists toconnect to NASA data using VDI and their own devices.

We are developing policies for allowing personal devices toconnect to our network. These policies will cover who gets a mobile device, whopays for it, what constitutes acceptable use, user responsibilities, and therange of devices ITCD will support. Our Mobile Device Management (MDM) system willmonitor, manage and support these personal devices. It will provide centralremote management of devices including the distribution of applications, dataand configuration settings, and remote wipes.  And, it will position us to better meetthe needs of our customers.

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