Federal officials spoke about the future role of the cloud in mobile device management (MDM) and security at the ATARC Federal Mobile Technology Summit today.

Interior Department Security Architect David Harris said that the way that the mobile device landscape is changing makes it difficult to manage what agencies like Interior have to have security coverage over, but he said that cloud-based enterprise mobility management (EMM) is “definitely the way forward in terms of cloud-based security services.”

In the meantime, Harris said that he looks forward to the Office of Management and Budget’s final guidance on Trusted Internet Connections to manage traffic on agency mobile devices, but that for now, FedRAMP has also been a “nice security baseline” for integrating cloud and mobile security.

As mobile networks continue to modernize, Harris further added that the emergence of 5G networks will help normalize cloud software as a service for MDM.

“I think [5G] is going to be a key enabler for a lot of the software as a service security technology,” Harris said. “We’re just going to have that increased bandwidth, and that’s going to enable a lot of things that couldn’t really, technically, be done before.”

U.S. Marine Corps Cyber Technology Officer SL Renata Spinks also spoke about cloud capabilities in securing mobile networks. While cloud software as a service is a key aspect for her, she also said that balancing that with a secure, hybrid cloud infrastructure is also critical.

“We spend a lot of time right now creating our own secure cloud architectures,” she said. “You’ll see a hybrid solution rather than a one-way ticket – pretty much multiple highways we have to take,” adding that the dispersed locations of Marine Corps bases and fleets contributes to that need for a hybrid environment.

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Melissa Harris