CellTrust Blog

Communication on personally owned mobile phones for police, city and county staff as they respond to COVID-19

Mobile communication has never been more vital for police departments, city and county governments. Many city and county employees receive a monthly stipend in exchange for the use of their personally owned mobile phone should they need to conduct government business with it. This type of Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) or personally owned mobile communication strategy can result in significant IT savings for local governments.

BYOD isn’t without its challenges, however, especially when a Public Record Request is made, for a text message exchange, which took place in the past, between several government staff members. There are also security concerns when staff members are making calls or sending texts containing sensitive, confidential information.

SL2 adds a second number to separate personal and government activity and streamlines public records management
CellTrust SL2 works with a second business number on the staff member’s mobile phone to separate personal and government activity and data on the device. Internal group chats, text messages and voice calls made within the SL2 app associated with the Mobile Business Number (MBN), are captured and archived in line with FOIA, Sunshine and Open Records Laws and regulations. SL2 provides streamlined public records management helping to meet future e-discovery requirements for Public Record Requests, insurance investigations and litigation disclosures.

SL2 uses the office number and protects staff privacy
Existing local government office numbers can be used for SL2 calls and texts. When a staff member makes a phone call or sends an SMS from their SL2 mobile app – the call and text are delivered using the landline office number. Text messages sent to the landline number, are received inside SL2 mobile app.  Voice functionality of the landline and current service provider remains the same. Calls received on the office landline number can be forwarded, or simultaneously ring the staff member’s personal mobile phone. This feature helps to maximize the return on local governments’ existing landline infrastructure investment. A template is provided for agency or department disclaimers and an Out-of-office/Auto-reply SMS message helps set communication boundaries when staff are not available.

Secures remote BYOD group collaboration with up to 250 people
Cyber criminality and security breaches often peak during times of crisis. Police departments, city and county councils and other departments providing essential services across municipal and county government staff, can create unlimited groups with up to 250 people within one SL2 group chat. SL2 becomes a secure BYOD internal communication channel with all app-to-app chat, SMS/texts and voice calls secured with CellTrust’s patented SecureSMS® and SecureVoice technologies. Documents and images can be attached within the group chat and are also secured with CellTrust’s enterprise-grade security.

Establishes secure, compliant mobile communication network
With the current Covid-19 outbreak and potential staff shortages, government team members need to collaborate well, maintain social distancing when possible and remain highly productive. They also need to respond rapidly and flexibly on whichever communication channel or device that makes the most sense at the time.

SL2 for BYOD, personally owned devices becomes a key communication differentiator when the app is deployed across staff members’ personal mobile phones to establish a secure, compliant, internal mobile communication network that stays with them in the office, working from home, or in the field.

IT and compliance teams retain network supervision and control
SL2 cloud based, enterprise-grade, mobile communication helps local municipalities cost-effectively deploy and manage a scalable, secure enterprise-wide solution across multiple device platforms. They can remote wipe, set and change rules and policies, correlate and supervise voice, text and chat activities for enforcement, traceability and e-discovery. Enterprise-level solutions have been designed for performance and scalability so they can auto-scale for dynamic and on-demand expansion of cloud services and resources.

Secure Cloud Computing Architecture (SCCA)
Sensitive government information is stored in a Secure Cloud Computing Architecture (SCCA) certified for US government, where FIPS validated encryption key management lifecycle services with optional dedicated hardware security modules and transparent data encryption for encryption at rest are the standard. For highest level of privacy and security, only US federal, state, local and tribal governments and their partners have access to this dedicated instance.

Additionally, Zero Trust architecture, designed to protect by leveraging network segmentation, preventing lateral movement, providing layered threat prevention and simplifying granular user-access control, is best practice. The foundational building block for the Zero Trust network model is Active Directory (AD), which vastly enhances the network security and safeguards access to enterprise data through identity management and conditional access control for both devices and users.

Mobile phones playing a big role in alternative policing methods
The International Association of Chiefs of Police has published guidance entitled COVID-19: Alternative Methods for Delivering Essential Law Enforcement Services to help city and county police departments make changes to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure to their officers. Police department heads have replaced face to face team meetings with written or recorded daily briefings, which can be attached within a secure SL2 group chat.

Some departments are triaging non-emergency and non-violent calls where there is no imminent danger, to determine whether a report can be taken over the telephone, rather than sending an officer out. When police officers have to respond in person, they are using mobile communication to help them limit contact, often taking reports at the scene, but on their mobile phones, while keeping a safe physical distance. And when it’s not necessary to enter a building, they are often utilizing mobile phones to communicate with victims and complainants outdoors.

Learn more about the City of Seguin, Texas using CellTrust SL2 to comply with the 2019 Texas Open Records Act

Learn more about CellTrust SL2 for government

Our SL2 experts are here to help local governments with secure, compliant mobile communication as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic:  sales@celltrust.com