Mobile Security in its Infancy, Connectivity and Device Evolution Trends Means Organizations Must Plan their Mobile Security Strategy
In a great new white paper, “Essential Enterprise Mobile Security Controls,” sponsored by Blackberry and posted by Tech Target, mobile device security is the feature show. As it continues to be the main event for mobile technology, mobile devices will continue to be used to carry high-value personal and company information, as expected.
When personal devices are disconnected from company networks, security risks were relatively low, according to the report, but as the technology permeates and its use becomes even more closely connected to the work environment, the risks to security increase significantly.
Apparently things have been pretty slow until now, but that’s not likely to last. The turning point is here and hackers are on the move, including on iPhones, as well as the Android market place. Given these continual threats, and the importance of the data healthcare organizations protect, the need for improved mobile security controls an imperative for any organization looking to leverage mobility for competitive advantage.
According to the report, “A key challenge for improving mobile security is to understand what tools are available and how they can be leveraged.”
The following is a list of must-have mobile device security controls to protect workers and organizations, again according to Blackberry:
- Device security. Remote lock, wipe and backup/recovery can help reduce the risk associated with lost or stolen devices. According to SearchSecurity.com, lost and stolen devices rank among organizations’ top mobile security concerns, and for good reason: “The easiest way to lose data via a mobile device is to lose the device itself. Every enterprise sanctions (or doesn’t prohibit) BYOD must ensure that any supported device can be locked and erased remotely, and that valuable data is backed up to a location under the organization’s control.”
- Network security. The increased number of smartphones and other devices that are carried into the enterprise by end users increases the threat to corporate networks.” Attackers have started seeking ways to use unsecured mobile devices as a means to leapfrog into otherwise protected areas of the network, including databases.
- Malware defense. The oncoming wave of mobile malware requires protection, like antivirus, personal firewalls, Web filtering and anti-spam. “It’s becoming necessary to invest in mobile add-ons from traditional antimalware vendors, or consider a mobile device management (MDM) product that can, among other things, facilitate the extension of anti-malware to a variety of mobile devices.”
- Threat intelligence. Large enterprises should invest in threat monitoring tools and research teams, and train them on how to not only identify mobile threats, but enable rapid response. These functions can be closely tied to existing log analysis and security information and event management (SIEM) processes. “The most important tactic here is to develop a baseline of “normal” mobile device activity and use analytics and real-time monitoring to spot deviations that may be a sign of an attack.”
- Centralized management. Central management tools provide a “single pane of glass” to set and enforce policies and perform many other security-related functions across all mobile devices. This is becoming an increasingly important capability in organizations where multi-platform support is essential.
- Data encryption. Files, contacts and email need to be encrypted on mobile devices in the event of loss or theft. Each platform comes with different encryption challenges, some requiring additional encryption application for the data that lives on the device. While the market for mobile encryption for data in motion is immature, new options are emerging all the time.
- Over-the-air capabilities. Mobile security requires over-the-air provisioning and configuration to ensure that workers always have the latest security capabilities without burdening IT, forcing them to physically touch each device. As demand grows for an increasingly diverse landscape of mobile devices, this feature is crucial for enterprises that need to scale their mobile security provisioning efforts.
According to the report, and this is a nice summation of the report (and I quote): “Mobile security is still in its infancy, but the trends around connectivity, device evolution and worker mobility means organizations must start planning their mobile security strategy now, and that process begins with assessing what mobile security controls are needed and developing a plan to put those controls into action.”