Mobilephobia: Is It Paralyzing Your Deployment of a Mobile Security Strategy?

October 6, 2015
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3 min read

As mobile grows, so do security threats, and with that comes the need for a comprehensive mobile security strategy. The question is, will you allow those threats to create a paralyzing mobilephobia in your organization, or will you embrace the technology and tackle those fears head on?

Threats to Mobile Security

It has been said that mobile is the most disruptive technology to hit the market since the Internet. If you recall the early days of the Internet, or at least the Internet as we know it today, businesses were slow to adopt IP technologies and put a presence on the Web. The Internet represented this vast network that no one controlled or policed — it was basically the Wild West of the information and data movement. I remember comments from people saying it’s great for techies and academics but would never catch on with the masses. We all know that the masses have embraced the Internet, and now they’re embracing mobile and demanding that the corporate world do the same.

Think about mobile and how mobilephobia is impacting your ability to take full advantage of this technology. Unlike many phobias, which tend to be extreme fears associated with unlikely threats, mobilephobia is tied to legitimate risks. If left unaddressed, these risks and threats have the potential to put your company in the news for all the wrong reasons. But because mobile is a disruptive technology, you are being forced to address it, and you must address is sooner rather than later.

Unlike many shifts in technology, this movement isn’t happening slowly, and it is not being driven by IT. Consumers have latched onto mobile technology and are forcing employers and the companies they do business with to support it, too. If you don’t support it, you risk associates going rogue with their personal devices or customers and business partners looking elsewhere to have their needs met.

Download the e-guide: Curing the CISO’s Most Common Mobile Security Fears

Concerns About Data Leakage

At the core of most fears related to enabling mobility is the idea of data leakage. You can look at the threats from many angles, but the root of the issue is a single question: How do I protect data on the device or restrict access to data within my enterprise? The data leakage threats can disguise themselves in many ways but the end result is the same: enterprise data in the wrong hands. In 2014, IBM sponsored a study, “The State of Mobile Security Maturity,” and the No. 1 concern expressed in the survey was the fear of lost or stolen devices. This is just one of the threats than can lead to data leakage.

Mobile devices have taken the idea of working remotely and being mobile to a whole new level. Our laptops were mobile; our phones are omnipresent. There has always been “that guy” who took his laptop everywhere, and he stood out in the crowd. But today, the people who don’t have their mobile device with them are the ones who stand out. These devices are small, lightweight and so ingrained in our daily lives that they literally go everywhere with us. The characteristics that make them so mobile also make them easy targets for theft or candidates for being lost.

Every CISO worries about the threat of data leakage if a device falls into the wrong hands. As a result, many have deployed an enterprise mobility management solution, which is a great start but only addresses the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mobile threats. It’s the obvious threat, but it is only one of many that must be confronted.

I’ve raised the questions and I’ve mentioned the No. 1 topic when it comes to mobile threats, but I’ve only scratched the surface of mobilephobia and how it is impacting the enterprise. These threats are real, and if you are to embrace mobile, you must do so with an understanding of the full range of risks and a plan for how to combat them.

Download the IBM e-guide: “Mobilephobia: Curing the CISO’s Most Common Mobile Security Fears” for a look at eight of the most common fears that the CISO is facing, as well as suggested cures for those fears.

Jason Hardy
Market Segment Manager, Mobile Security, IBM
Jason Hardy is a contributor for SecurityIntelligence.