DWP explores management options for thousands of mobile devices

Department brings in external consultants to test and examine the capabilities of a range of MDM systems, which would be used to manage connections from both corporate and employee devices

The Department for Work and Pensions is to explore technological options for managing thousands of mobile devices, including both departmental-owned items and employees’ own technology.

According to freshly published commercial documents, the department currently uses VMware technology to manage an estate of 16,000 devices. This system constitutes “software that allows IT to automate, control, and secure administrative policies on DWP’s smartphones, tablets, or any other device connected to our network”.

But the department wishes to explore potential alternatives and, via a three-month contract with IT security firm Logiq Consulting, will conduct proof-of-concept (POC) exercises to test the capabilities of various mobile-device management (MDM) products currently on the market. This will then inform its future strategy for securing and managing the devices used by staff.

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“DWP mobility are looking to conduct a POC on at least two – potentially more – mobile management platforms to understand how they could meet future requirements and the changes needed for our mobile service,” says the text of the contract. “Once onboarded, contingent labour [from the supplier] will conduct POC on a minimum of two MDMs; each POC is expected to take three weeks. Once complete, they will deliver findings to senior stakeholders.”

Before commencing the exploratory exercise, staff from the security company will be given a “low-level design… as well as [current] plans to deliver” MDM technology in the longer term.

Beginning this, Logiq will conduct an “initial evaluation” and seek to understand the functionality of MDM tools, and how this compares with what is required by the department. These requirements will cover the management of government-issued Apple iPhones and iPads alongside Android devices from Samsung – as well as both Android and iOS devices owned by employees and used to connect to DWP networks.

The contract as it stands sets out a timetable for up to three POC exercises, concluding around the end of July – with findings delivered by mid-September. The deal currently provides for consultants to support the DWP for nine working weeks – at a cost of £79,080. This can be extended by 22 further working days, taking the value of the contract to £116,368.

Sam Trendall

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