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Why You Should Care About Mobile Security

May 21, 2017

By now, the writing's on the wall: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) isn't just a trend, but a bona fide movement that is changing the way enterprises do business. The combination of device procurement and IT support cost savings with increased employee engagement, responsiveness, and productivity make BYOD a winner, and organizations are recognizing that fact, with "62 percent of enterprises and 40 percent of midmarket companies report[ing] experiencing significant growth in employees’ use of alternative endpoint devices," according to Dell's Tech Page One. But with the growth in BYOD comes the growth of BYOD security concerns. VARs should familiarize themselves with these concerns to best sell into the BYOD market.

1. Malware

Malicious software continues to pose a threat to enterprise computing environments, whether they're traditional desktop computers or the smartphones and tablets more and more employees are bringing onto corporate networks. Viruses and malware can deal significant damage to both individuals' productivity and the security, integrity, and performance of entire enterprise networks and systems. Malicious software infections can spread quickly, and quarantining and cleaning infected devices takes time and resources that many IT departments don't have to spare. Additionally, not every infection is detected, increasing the risks that a compromised device can create. BYOD security therefore demands robust, up-to-date antivirus and malware protection.

2. Attacks on mobile

Speaking of malware, mobile malware is on the rise. As eWeek reported earlier this year, Android is now "the world's most targeted platform among hackers," beating Windows out for the title of hackers' favorite target. iOS is up there, too. Clearly, hackers have recognized that mobile devices are more vulnerable than traditional computer operating systems. The amount of personal data often stored on mobile devices and the ease with which content can be shared between devices makes smartphones and tablets especially attractive to cybercriminals and especially concerning for BYOD security teams. Jailbroken devices are particularly open to attack. Endpoint protection for BYOD security must go beyond antivirus and malware protection to encompass Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions that can validate the device settings and configurations of individual devices, ensuring that only those compliant with policy can access corporate networks and resources.

3. Data exfiltration

So far, the BYOD security concerns we've discussed have revolved around outside threats. Unfortunately, insiders can cause just as many problems, if not more. BYOD allows employees to access and, in many cases, store and transmit sensitive corporate data from their personal devices. That means they can that that data home with them, outside corporate control. Employees who seek to leak or sell protected or proprietary information for their own profit can threaten enterprise data privacy. So, too, can well-meaning employees who inadvertently expose data by sharing it with the wrong people or uploading it to the wrong cloud storage service. Organizations must beef up their BYOD security strategies with data encryption and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions to protect their data and detect risks to its confidentiality.

BYOD security demands a hard look at customers' existing security infrastructures. VARs can help by bringing their knowledge of security technology to bear on new privacy concerns. Expertise in products like Cisco's Context-Aware Security will come in handy, as will your partnership with your distributor. Are you ready to secure your customers' mobile initiatives? Speak to one of our information security and business development specialists to get started.

Do you worry about mobile security? Tell us why or why not in the comments.