March 24, 2016

min read

How Global Enterprises Are Protecting Themselves Against Mobile Attack

For the next four weeks Lookout is diving into a number of key findings straight from the mouths of security and IT professionals you work with every day. This is week three. Check back for more insights from the field.

An employee’s access to confidential data on mobile devices has increased substantially over the past two years, say 74% of IT and security pros in a new report from the Ponemon Institute. In order to keep up, enterprises worldwide have had to adopt a number of tactics to ensure confidential data stays safe.

The relationship between mobile devices and data is widening. Employees are finding new tools to make their jobs easier, from SaaS products to being able to access email and documents on their commute home. Mobile devices offer a new way to work.

However, today only 36% of security and IT professionals at global companies say they are vigilantly protecting the sensitive corporate data employees access on their mobile devices.

These are the forward-thinkers in the industry who understand that mobile security is important not just to protect against threats, but because they know mobility is good for their workers.

Here are the most common mobile security features they have deployed:

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The threats are real and becoming more sophisticated. Indeed, in the last year we saw a new attack tactic that involves abusing the accessibility service on Android in order to steal data -- handily circumventing app sandboxing protections. We also saw adware grow significantly in maturity, using malicious apps to root victims’ devices and install malware.

That said, there are legitimate gains to embracing mobility not just to assuage executives’ fears and avoid attack, but also to enable employee productivity. Tools like the ones previously mentioned are not perfect on their own, but used in conjunction with one another can help enterprises keep that confidential information secret, while giving employees room to work in the most efficient ways possible.

The difference now is that IT security is looking toward a mobile-first, cloud-first approach to combat sophisticated and evolving threats while protecting employees on the move.

About the Data: The Ponemon Institute surveyed 588 IT and IT security professionals who are employed in Global 2000 companies and the public sector who are familiar with their organization’s management and security of mobile devices used in the workplace. In addition, they have responsibility for monitoring or enforcing the security of mobile devices used in the workplace, including employee-owned devices, also known as BYOD. Get the full report for a detailed explanation of the survey methodology.