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Mobile security: 3 things the enterprise needs to know

Is mobile security a blind spot for your business?

A recent data breach at Experian, one of the major credit agencies in the United States, exposed the personal information of approximately 15 million T-Mobile customers. While the full extent of the breach is not yet clear, this is just the latest in a string of high-profile security incidents at major companies, and a clear reminder of the importance of conducting a thorough audit of your security procedures — especially when it comes to vendors handling your critical information.

However, while incidents like these grab the headlines, the reality of mobile security is typically much more mundane. Rather than shadowy figures breaching servers to access encrypted data from halfway across the world, today’s security challenges are often much closer to home. BYOD policies have opened enterprise networks to a host of new vulnerabilities, and your company must be prepared to respond to these challenges, or face potentially devastating consequences.

Here are three things your enterprise should know about mobile security.

​Mobile may be the biggest security challenge facing large companies.

This may be the biggest security challenge facing large companies

Global internet traffic is up 21 percent and mobile traffic nearly 70 percent, according to a recent survey by IDG1. With mobile becoming an increasingly more popular platform, the enterprise has taken notice. However, there have been major challenges. For example, 74 percent of companies surveyed have experienced a data breach resulting from a mobile security issue, with ongoing major concerns that include malware, app-based security vulnerabilities and unsecured Wi-Fi connections.

Today, mobile devices remain a company’s biggest security liability. And as a result, 90 percent of survey respondents said that they were planning to increase their investments in mobile security over the next year.

But will it be enough?

You can’t just tech your way out of It

When it comes to mobile security, the call is often coming from inside the house.
You can — and should — make major investments into your network to bolster your defenses against attack. However, what makes mobile security so challenging is the fact that with BYOD policies in place, a wide variety of makes and models of devices, using different OS types and versions, will all be connecting to the same network — your network — from a multitude of locations across the world.

This can easily become a recipe for disaster. Employees lose their phones, download infected apps, use weak passwords, visit unsafe websites, click on phishing links in emails, open email attachments, and a whole host of other things that raise the blood pressure of your resident IT security expert. So you need a security policy in place that not only addresses network security, but also device security and employee education.

“A careless worker who forgets [their] unlocked iPhone in a taxi is as dangerous as a disgruntled user who maliciously leaks information to a competitor,” said Ray Potter, CEO of SafeLogic.

Bolster your defenses against attack

Mobile security demands a comprehensive approach that considers all potential vulnerabilities, both tech-based and not.

The problem is only going to get worse

Let’s face it: security and the needs of your business are often at odds. Your workforce is becoming more and more mobile, and they need access to critical business information, no matter the time or the place. They expect to be able to access this information, share documents, print securely, and collaborate with coworkers at a moment’s notice. And for each of these actions, there is a security risk.

This is the direction the new world of work is headed: companies with empowered mobile workforces are better able to make major business decisions with speed and decisiveness. But without access to critical business information, your mobile workers won’t be able to keep up — and your business will suffer as a result. The best time to act was years ago. But the second best time to act is right now.

Mobile security demands a comprehensive approach that considers all potential vulnerabilities, both tech-based and not. When considering a partner to assist in bolstering your defenses, consider one who can take on all aspects of mobile security: from your infrastructure to your workforce.
1 Source: Matthew Broersma. "Vulnerable Apps Cause Most Mobile Security Breaches." October 5, 2015.