The State of Mobile Device Security: Speed Kills

February 26, 2018 @ 12:00 PM
| |
2 min read

When it comes to mobile, speed is everything. Applications must be first to market, the user experience must be fast and streamlined, and software must be updated promptly if enterprises want to stay ahead.

The problem is that this emphasis on speed often kills network safety. As noted by Verzion’s “Mobile Security Index 2018,” 32 percent of companies are sacrificing mobile device security for speed, making them twice as likely as more safety-minded counterparts to experience data loss or downtime.

The Disconnect Between Awareness and Security

Companies aren’t flying blind. The Verizon report pointed out that 93 percent of survey respondents agree they should take mobile security more seriously. These organizations are well aware of the potential risks posed by Internet of Things (IoT) devices and the uptick in mobile use across the enterprise, yet they’re still failing to secure critical endpoints. Just 14 percent of companies have implemented even basic cybersecurity practices, according to the report, while only 39 percent change default passwords for new devices and 38 percent leverage two-factor authentication (2FA).

So where’s the disconnect? Consider the healthcare industry, one of the hardest hit by recent data breaches and mobile attacks. The report found that 35 percent of healthcare organizations suffered data loss or downtime thanks to mobile device attacks, yet 41 percent said they knowingly sacrifice mobile device security for performance.

This cuts to the heart of the problem: Front-line staff, customers and C-suite members want easy, speedy access to mobile services. While they’re objectively aware of the need for improved device security and often pay lip service to the idea, speed trumps security if security professionals can’t articulate immediate danger.

A Multipronged Approach to Mobile Device Security

App development is ramping up even as consumer expectations outpace current offerings. As a result, it’s not reasonable to suggest that companies should simply take a break or slow down. Instead, improving mobile device security means taking a multipronged approach that works with existing pipelines rather than against them.

Step one is to strategize. As noted by ComputerWeekly, this means gathering input from all corporate users and then defining a broad approach that covers devices, data, applications and users. Think big here: The goal isn’t to get granular, but to understand what needs to happen to shore up current security.

The next step is to invest in unified endpoint management (UEM) tools. UEM technology is designed to create solid, actionable policies and procedures across all mobile endpoints instead of forcing IT professionals to micromanage individual apps and services. The shift toward UEM and the increasing severity of mobile attacks points to a unification of policies and tools, which will provide better overall protection as more companies transition to a mobile-first security outlook.

Finally, organizations need to take critical security steps, such as creating corporate partitions to secure both data and applications. These partitions should be airlocked to reduce the risk of insecure copy and pasting by well-meaning but potentially oblivious employees.

The Verizon report found that while protection lags behind quick mobile access and ease of use, speed kills network safety. Security leaders can improve security outcomes by developing an effective strategy, adopting UEM and implementing ground-floor mobile device security best practices.

Douglas Bonderud
Freelance Writer

A freelance writer for three years, Doug Bonderud is a Western Canadian with expertise in the fields of technology and innovation. In addition to working for...
read more