The Costs of Mobile Isolation in Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIFs)


If you’ve ever worked in a SCIF or another secure facility where mobile technology is prohibited, you know the pains of being isolated from the outside world. Not only are you stuck in an often windowless, sterile room for hours upon hours, day after day, but you’re digitally cut off from the rest of the world.

In a world where the cell phone is the newest bodily appendage and infants practically pop out of the womb with smart phone in hand, not having mobile access throughout the work day is becoming less and less feasible for most people.

Not being next to a cell phone can be a source of anxiety, and anxiety decreases productivity.

It puts minds at ease knowing that if there’s an emergency in the family, the cell phone is always at hand.

These days the personal cell phone is THE phone. Having a cell number affords the ability to contact someone anytime, anywhere. Why would you need anything else?

The Decline of Landlines as a Practical Means of Communication

Studies show that people are slowly giving up their landlines.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 70% of households now use landlines, compared to 96% of households 15 years ago.

This number drops drastically with millennials, with about two-thirds of the population under the age of 30 living in their own households without landlines.

Businesses are cutting landlines as well, as mobile phones and VOIP communication is much more economical when it comes to long distance calls.

When a choice has to be made between mobile and landline communication, mobile is always the first choice.

Mobile Phones in the Workplace Save Time, Money & Sanity

So what does this data tell us about the workforce? Because so many people just pick up their cell phones to make a call, even from home, people don’t use office phones to communicate with friends or family either. They rarely give out their office numbers.

Having constant access to a cell phone is a benefit and even a necessity that most employees don’t fully realize until it’s gone.

Then it feels as though an opposable thumb has suddenly been removed.

Having a cell phone in the workplace affords employees peace of mind. They can receive emergency calls from any family member or emergency personnel. They can also make important calls and know that the other person will pick up the phone.

When phone calls come from strange or unknown numbers these days, most people don’t answer.

With mobile phones at hand, employees can also conduct important personal business that can only sometimes get done during business hours such as communication with a bank, school, or doctor’s office.

When employees use their own cell phones, it saves the company or organization a great deal of money.

Long-distance calls are pricey from landlines, and as more employees switch to mobile phones for personal and business calls, phone bills drop dramatically.

Employees within a SCIF or mobile-free zone are forced to retrieve their phones from security and go outside every time it’s necessary to make a mobile call.

Just making a three-minute call from a car in the parking lot can take 20 minutes away from the work day.

Imagine the cost of doing this multiple times a day. Employees also take “digital smoke breaks” throughout the day to check their phones and curb the anxiety that someone important may be trying to contact them.

Having mobile access in the workplace not only makes sense from a recruitment perspective. (Giving up a cell phone does not make an attractive job offer for new talent, especially if similar organizations are offering mobile access.) It also makes sense to ensure continuity of operations.

Imagine if someone is seeking permission from a general or other superior to continue a mission because something has gone critically wrong, but they cannot proceed because the General is in SCIF. Time is of the essence.

The longer it takes to reach the General, the greater the chances of ruining the operation.

If the General had access to his or her cell phone, the operation could continue instantly.

Also, for employees who work undercover, not answering a personal cell phone all day can become quite suspicious.

Secure Mobile Communication from within a Secure Facility is Possible

Luckily, there is now a solution to all of these problems. Charon Technologies produces an ingenious product called BluVault that allows employees’ cell phone calls to be routed directly to the their desk phones.

The cell phone remains outside the SCIF, protected inside a secure BluVault cabinet that provides individual, locking cubbies for each mobile phone.

Phones that are Bluetooth enabled are linked to the BluVault adapter which allows them to synch with the SCIF’s unclassified phone system.

The best part is that when an employee makes or receives a call from their desk line when it’s linked to their cell phone, the call registers with the cell phone number, not the number of a government office.

Phone records will reflect the same. There will be absolutely no trace of a call coming from or entering a SCIF.

BluVault takes nothing away from SCIF security and gives the power of communication back to the employee and the organization.