The first sentence of this year's Gartner Market Guide for Mobile Threat Defense (MTD) delivers the report's bottom line. It begins, "The signs are clear that mobile threats can no longer be ignored.*" We believe this statement can be seen as another credible call to action that leaving mobile endpoints unsecured presents an urgent risk to corporate, government, and regulated personal data.
However, the report also notes that MTD is misunderstood. Gartner writes, "There is still a lot of confusion and uncertainty from end users regarding which risks MTD addresses and how urgent or useful MTD can be."
We see five clear and certain signs from Gartner that MTD is an urgent need for enterprises and government agencies. Read on to see our take on Gartner's recommendations.
Clear sign #1: Mobile malware is expected to grow 440% in the next two years
When an employee inadvertently downloads a malicious app that steals credentials and enables an attacker to access corporate data remotely, it's a potentially significant instance of data compromise. Yet, to fully understand the risk to data from mobile malware, it's necessary to understand both the impact and the likelihood. Gartner provides data on its growing prevalence, "By 2019, mobile malware will amount to one-third of total malware reported in standard tests, up from 7.5% today."
Clear sign #2: Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) tools don't protect against mobile attacks or leaky apps
One of the most pervasive myths in this industry is that EMM is a security solution. Organizations that have deployed MTD think differently, as Gartner points out, "Enterprise concern about threats that EMM tools do not counter drives the MTD market and adoption. These are typically malicious threats (for example, eavesdropping over untrusted wireless networks) or data leakage risks that elude EMM controls (such as spyware apps)."
The graphic below is the clearest depiction I've yet seen of the distinct areas of coverage for EMM and MTD:
This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request.
The way to think about this issue is that the best practice is, "EMM + MTD," not one or the other. To take this thinking one step further, choosing an EMM solution now depends in part on how well it integrates with MTD, with the understanding that MTD must now also deliver the same visibility into mobile app behaviors previously offered in a separate MARS point product.
Clear sign #3: Regulatory compliance is driving MTD deployments across industries
On the topic of who has the most urgent need for MTD, the report is very clear. Gartner writes, "Organizations in high-security verticals, those with large Android device fleets or those in regulated verticals such as finance and healthcare should plan to adopt MTD solutions sooner rather than later.*"
The reality today is, the more organizational data you allow employees to access from smartphones and tablets, the greater exposure your organization has to the spectrum of mobile risk. Enabling a mobility program requires a robust assessment of mobile threats, risks, and vulnerabilities in your unique business context, regardless of whether the devices are corporate- or personally-owned.
For example, even though the overall prevalence of targeted iOS spyware is low, an organization with critical trade secrets might consider their executives to be valuable targets and assign a higher level of risk to their mobile devices by protecting them with an MTD solution like Lookout Mobile Endpoint Security.
A very successful use case for MTD is this Global 2000 bank, whose IT Infrastructure Manager secured 9,000 corporate-owned Android phones managed by VMware AirWatch EMM, and found hundreds of diverse threats upon deployment.
Clear sign #4: Mobile policies ≠ mobile security
Gartner writes, "Security leaders should recognize that the policy enforcement that organizations apply will not suffice indefinitely as a security intervention.*" Establishing policies such as forbidding app sideloading and prohibiting jailbroken and rooted devices from accessing enterprise resources won't prevent advanced malware or leaky apps from compromising data.
Instead, use an MTD solution to gain visibility into these type of threats and automate enforcement of mobile policies, even down to granular app behaviors.
Clear sign #5: Enterprise adoption of MTD is accelerating
Employees are demanding access to corporate data through mobile devices, leading mobile threat actors to target these devices with increasing sophistication. Those threats are, in turn, driving the increased adoption of MTD, which Gartner quantifies, "By 2020, 30% of organizations will have MTD in place, an increase from less than 10% in 2017.*"
Security leaders who are unsure of what priority level to assign a mobile security initiative in their organization should take 30 minutes to read the latest Market Guide for Mobile Threat Defense, and then contact Lookout to learn more about how to get the most value from mobile technology, securely.
*©2017 GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally, and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved. Gartner, Inc., Market Guide for Mobile Threat Defense Solutions, Dionisio Zumerle, John Girard, August 2017. The Gartner Report(s) described herein, (the "Gartner Report(s)") represent(s) research opinion or viewpoints published, as part of a syndicated subscription service, by Gartner, Inc. ("Gartner"), and are not representations of fact.