Consumers are still not taking the security of their mobile devices seriously enough, and that is having a detrimental effect on enterprises. While many consumers routinely install antivirus programs to protect their home laptops and desktop computers, they still tend to leave smartphones and tablets unprotected—the same devices they are most likely to bring into and use at work. New research from Gartner shows that although there is rising awareness of the importance of securing mobile devices, that is not translating into a widespread move by consumers to take action: The analyst company predicts that by 2015 only 30 percent of consumer product selection criteria will be based on requirements to secure new mobile platforms.
Another new report, from security software company McAfee, shows that mobile malware is spreading swiftly: In August the company said it had collected over 30,000 malware samples in the first half of 2013, almost as many as the 35,000 it collected for the whole of 2012. Malware includes apps that pose as helpful consumer tools but instead install spyware that collects and forwards valuable personal data. McAfee says in Q2 “backdoor Trojans”, which steal data without a victim knowing, is one of the two categories that make up the largest portion of all new mobile malware families.
Enterprises are finding it increasingly difficult to stop employees bringing their own devices into the workplace. Indeed, many encourage the trend to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) because it can help to reduce enterprise spend on hardware. But it means that CIOs need to take a structured approach to overseeing and managing device and enterprise application usage if they are not to put sensitive data at risk.
Mobile device management (MDM) software plays a key role in ensuring that enterprise data is kept secure and separate from private applications, across disparate mobile devices and operating systems. Some of the more progressive solutions incorporate MDM into a comprehensive enterprise mobility offering that provides clearer visibility of device and app usage, highlighting security risks and enabling enterprises to better manage mobility spend. And becoming increasingly popular are managed services delivered in the cloud, making for a much more affordable prospect. Combining these elements give enterprises recourse to highly scalable, robust and low-cost mobility management solutions. Capgemini Afaria in the Cloud is an example of a cloud-based service that offers enterprise mobility protection for one euro per device per month
So while growth in mobile malware looks set to outpace consumers’ moves to protect devices, CIOs can act now to protect the growing range of vulnerable devices and applications in the enterprise workplace and set their companies on the path to the ongoing and fuller-realized benefits of enterprise mobility.