Keeping Mobiles and the Network Secure

Here we are writing about mobility again. It’s a fairly common theme on these blog pages, but that’s because it’s a very important subject for businesses to address: how to enable workers to use mobile devices without compromising performance, productivity or, perhaps most importantly, security.

Just look at these stats from Gartner, released very recently: sales of tablet devices (Apple’s iPad, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab series and other devices from Asus, Acer, Google, Amazon and the rest of the field) will reach 256 million units during 2014, a rise of 23.9% on 2013’s figures. Sales in 2015 are estimated to hit 321 million. Mobile phone sales are expected to reach 1.9 billion in 2014, with smartphones making up 66% of those sales. That figure should reach 88% by 2018, Gartner reckons.

A lot of those will - officially or unofficially - find their way into enterprises. Workers want to be able to use mobile devices to do their job and if the business doesn’t provide them with one they are quite likely to use their own. And why not? Mobile devices can enable employees to get their work done regardless of their location and whether they have the right tools with them. In fact, mobile devices ensure that workers always have the right tools with them.

But with this new-found freedom comes danger. Mobile devices these days present just as much of a security risk as traditional computers; not only because of the sheer number of them but also because of their portability. I can’t imagine many people have left a full PC on a bus or taxi, or lost one in a bar or had it stolen from their pocket. But that is one of the dangers from mobile devices. We have talked extensively here about how businesses can guard against these threats.

However another threat is emerging; mobile devices are being targeted as cyber criminals know they can access sensitive corporate data and attack a corporate network through that particular avenue. Mobile malware, SMS grabbing and key logging are all becoming more common and are posing a real threat to mobiles and the networks they access.

The growth of mobility means security is no longer contained to just the data centre; instead the focus has shifted to the data and applications that flow across a corporate network, from the data centre to the devices and back again.

One of the reasons we bought Versafe is to help customers tackle these exact threats. Versafe’s technology enables companies to identify jailbroken devices, which is key in stopping mobile malware from spreading across a network. It also uses SSL certifications and HTTPS connections to help detect mobile malware, while encryption at the application layer and virtual keypads created in real-time mean that if any sensitive information is intercepted by malware, it will be useless to the attackers.

On top of that any transactions or payments that are instigated by a piece of malware can be stopped with Versafe’s technology. It uses a combination of features such as device ID, touch patterns and timing information to determine whether a transaction is genuine or if it’s being performed by malware.

Fraud threats from social networks are protected too via real-time monitoring of just about any social or business network you can name. Fraudulent applications are identified in this same way, alerting business to any potential danger.

What’s so good about all of this is that it happens in real-time, detecting and stopping threats and attacks before they cause any damage. And every platform, user and device is covered. It ensures not only complete protection of mobile devices, but it also adds another layer of security to a corporation’s network.

Published Sep 11, 2014
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