When Employees Access Data on Mobile, Security Threats Lurk

Posted by skyhighnetworks on June 24th, 2014

According to a Global Mobility Study by the International Data Group, 70% of employees regularly access the corporate network via a personal smartphone or tablet lacking enterprise grade security. Furthermore, 80% of employees access business-critical applications, such as their work email from personal mobile devices.

Given their mass adoption and popularity, mobile devices in the enterprise signify the convergence of personal and professional preferences & utilizations. According to Sycamore analyst Lana Hoffman, “Enterprises continually have to keep up with the explosion of mobile device adoption, and have to come up with ways to manage control over the mobile platform as they stretch the boundaries of corporate oversight”.

As the adoption of mobile devices continues to accelerate through the year 2014, enterprises continue to allow employees accessibility via mobile. According to digital security company Symantec, “while the most popular mobile platforms in use today were designed with security in mind—and certainly raise the bar compared to traditional PC-based computing platforms—they may still be insufficient for protecting the enterprise assets that regularly find their way onto these devices.”

Mobile users are transforming the range and capacity of human interactions worldwide. This revolution is supported by the utter ubiquitous nature of mobile devices, with first-time access to the World Wide Web from nearly any location and an emergent abundance of mobile apps.

The unregulated growth in mobility has also created an attractive opportunity for cybercriminals to make profits by employing mobile malware. The Blue Coat Security report observed the mobile threat market and the behavioral patterns of mobile users that make them most susceptible to data loss, malevolent applications, fraud and other threats. Furthermore, on average, a typical mobile user spends ~72 minutes a day browsing the mobile web. This amount of time is free of the time expended while using native apps, and characterizes the time when users are most susceptible to threats.

The most important takeaways from the Blue Coat Security report include the following: First of all, most mobile threats are in the form of malware. Malware threats have the intention of stealing personal information, or engaging in other actions such as texting scams. Secondly, spam and phishing are the most popular forms of malware, as they are most functional cross web and mobile, and simple to deploy. Thirdly, while mobile users visit pornography sites infrequently, the risk of security-threatening content is actually 3x higher than any other action on a mobile platform. Fourth, malnets are another threat identified by Blue Coat. While Malnets drove 66% of all web attacks in 2012, their shift is refocusing to mobile platforms and users. According to Blue Coat, 40% of all mobile malware has been initiated from known malnets, to date. Finally, businesses and their employees need to protect confidential information from cybercriminals. Cybercriminals find it financially rewarding to target businesses & employees, so businesses must be proactive in activating mobile security for their employees.

In conclusion, mobile users present an intricate and developing community for enterprises today. The organizations that can best securely maintain mobile devices can gain an edge in productivity over their competition. Employing enterprise quality security and policy is key for an enterprise to defend itself against the ever-evolving landscape of mobile security risks and threats.

Author :
Skyhigh Networks, the Cloud Security Services company, enables companies to embrace Cloud Security Services with appropriate levels of security, compliance, and governance while lowering overall risk and cost. With customers in financial services, healthcare, high technology, media, manufacturing, and legal verticals, the company was a finalist for the RSA Conference 2013 Most Innovative Company award and was recently named a "Cool Vendor" by Gartner, Inc. Headquartered in Cupertino, Calif., Skyhigh Networks is led by an experienced team and is venture-backed by Greylock Partners and Sequoia Capital. For more information, visit us at http://www.skyhighnetworks.com/mobile-security/ or follow us on Twitter@skyhighnetworks.


About the Author

Joined: December 18th, 2013
Articles Posted: 85

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