September 19, 2016 By Jason Hardy 3 min read

The combination of mobile and cloud may be the most dangerous threat to your enterprise security. While many security analysts focus on either mobile or cloud security, few think about them in tandem. Fewer still consider how to leverage enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions and a cloud access security broker (CASB) at the same time.

I’ve spent a great deal of time writing and talking about mobile security and the importance of developing a strategy that goes beyond the device. I developed an e-guide, “Mobilephobia: Curing the CISO’s Most Common Mobile Security Fears,” that introduced the threats and four imperatives to consider in developing a mobile security strategy: protecting devices, securing content and collaboration, safeguarding applications and data, and managing access and fraud.

What I did not explain in the e-guide, however, is how cloud and mobile threats need to be addressed together.

A Dangerous Combination

Mobile and cloud are both here to stay. They are a part of both our personal and business lives, and we all know these two facets are hopelessly intertwined. These technologies are ubiquitous because they are simple and easy to access. Looking for a place to store data for safe keeping? Back it up to the cloud. Need to share large amounts of data with others? Share it in the cloud. Looking for a quick and easy solution to a problem? Download an app from the cloud. Want to do all of these things and have access to it from anywhere? Use your mobile device.

Simplicity is good, right? Who doesn’t want fast, easy deployment and adoption of technology and applications? It sounds like an IT dream, but the combination of mobile and cloud can create an IT nightmare.

Let’s face it: As security and IT professionals, we like control. The problem with mobile, specifically bring-your-own-device (BYOD), and cloud is that the end user holds the keys to the kingdom. The end user can change devices, upgrade OS, download apps, connect to the cloud and do many other things outside of the awareness of security and IT. This sourcing and adoption of technology outside of the normal approval process, known as shadow IT, exposes the enterprise to significant risks.

EMM and a CASB: Better Together

So how can you address this combination of mobile and cloud challenges? The best way is to deploy an EMM solution and a CASB. If these solutions are integrated, all the better. Some contend that these tools are mutually exclusive, but the combination of the two will give you a higher level of protection than either on its own.

An EMM solution provides the tools you need to manage devices, applications, content and collaboration. Regardless of the model you choose to support, an EMM should enable you to support both corporate-owned devices and BYOD. Robust EMM will also help you manage access, and support malware and fraud detection.

Bundling all of these features into an EMM solution addresses the most common threats to the mobile platform, but EMM alone does not address cloud security. To extend protection to cloud resources, you need a CASB. A CASB will provide you with the ability to detect app usage, connect users to authorized apps and protect the enterprise through policy enforcement.

A Powerful One-Two Punch

By deploying both EMM and a CASB, you can defuse threats that come from the combination of mobile and cloud. Together, they provide the necessary visibility and management tools to know what is happening and what resources are being accessed from a particular device. You can identify risky devices, apps and user activity, and take immediate action to protect the enterprise.

By deploying an EMM and CASB solution, you gain the ability to do so many things to protect your enterprise. For instance, imagine having the tools to:

  • Remotely wipe a lost or stolen device.
  • Identify a rooted or jailbroken device.
  • Detect malware on a mobile device and deny access to the enterprise.
  • Redirect end users from unauthorized cloud apps to authorized cloud apps.
  • Provide users with a catalog of approved apps.
  • Manage app usage and identify the most popular apps.

These are just a few examples of what you can do with a combined EMM/CASB solution to identify what is happening outside and protect what is inside your perimeter.

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