SMB Mobile Device Management: Key Findings and Lessons Learned from Juniper’s Mobile Threat Report

Posted on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 @ 03:04 PM by Carlos Lahrssen

50 percent of U.S. mobile users have smartphones. How many of your employees connect personal mobile devices to the corporate network, or use smartphones and tablets at work? 

Mobile device management and security has climbed to the top of the list for business and technology leaders, as devices have the potential to improve workforce efficiency and productivity—yet the risks associated with network security. 

A Deeper Look at the Evolving Mobile Threat Landscape

Juniper, mobile security reportEarlier this year, Juniper security researchers examined 793,631 applications and vulnerabilities from major mobile operating systems to compile the 2011 Mobile Threat Report. Applications and vulnerabilities identified included:

  • Mobile operating application stores and third-party application stores.
  • Known website repositories.
  • Known hacker websites.
  • Application samples submitted by customers or partners.

Report details provide insight into how mobile security has changed, including the key findings that there is more mobile malware than ever before; mobile malware has gotten smarter; and there is a low barrier to entry for devices on corporate networks.

Key Findings

The report identifies mobile malware up 155% in 2011 from 2010, mirroring the overall growth in usage of smartphones. While all types of systems are at risk, application marketplaces and jailbroken devices are especially susceptible to the threat of mobile malware. Other findings to note include:

  • The last seven months of 2011 saw targeted attacks on the Android platform increase by 3,325%. 
  • Wi-Fi hotspots are expected to grow 350% by 2015. Because these spots are a less secure type of connection, they’re also easier for hackers to abuse. 

Protect Your Business: Secure Connections, Devices, Applications

The mobile workforce demands access to corporate networks, from personal devices, at any time and from any location. IT and business leaders have the responsibility to provide the technologies and processes for an effective, secure, mobile work environment.

Protect the Corporate Network: Mobility has its advantages for businesses, but not at the cost of your corporate security. Implement the following to set a tone of secure mobile management: 

  • Enforce a mobile device policy; those that do not opt into the policy will not have access to corporate networks.
  • Determine level of support for all mobile device types.
  • If necessary, install monitoring software with admin access to check for data leaks or inappropriate activity.

Protect Your Mobile Device: Protect personal and business mobile devices from mobile threats with the following precautions, suggested by Juniper:

  • Install on-device anti-malware solutions and personal firewalls.
  • Password-protect entry to your mobile devices.
  • Use caution when downloading applications; ask if your business has a “white list” or “black list” of applications when selecting which ones to download.
  • Install a remote location track, lock, wipe, backup and restore system in case the phone is lost or stolen.
  • Investigate possible usage of SSL VPN clients for your device to ensure security.

Phones of the Future: Mobile Applications

Mobile devices equipped with the best business software are feature-rich tools for today’s workforce. As more companies offer advanced mobile solutions and productive communications apps, businesses will benefit from the ability to transcribe voicemails to text messages; direct desktop phone calls to mobile; track calls for time and duration; dial company extensions from mobile; make certain specifications for how specific incoming calls are handled; and more.

Final Thoughts

Remain educated and cautious when dealing with devices and applications on the corporate network to ensure your information remains secure. Although the threats are evident, the right management solutions and software can establish mobile security for your business.

What are you doing to ensure your mobile devices are protected — for your employees and you business? Share challenges in the comments below.

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Topics: mobile device management

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About the Author

Carlos Lahrssen
Carlos Lahrssen
Carlos Lahrssen is president and CEO of nexogy, as well as founder, president and CEO of LD Telecommunications, Inc., nexogy’s parent company. Lahrssen is an industry fan, follower and advocate — stay...read more