Smartphones and tablets are quickly becoming staples in businesses across nearly every industry. According to one expert, this trend has necessitated that businesses readdress their mobile security policies.
In an interview with data security news provider Infosecurity, AVG Mobile Solutions vice president of marketing and products Omri Sigelman asserted that this new generation of mobile devices creates a number of new security challenges. Additionally, given that the technology is still relatively young, it is difficult to security solutions providers to predict what new challenges may arise in the future.
"We do not have a crystal ball, but we need to do our best to understand the threats, how people will use their mobile devices, and what needs they have," Sigelman told the news provider. "If you combine these three together, you start to get a good picture of where mobility is going."
Sigelman suggested, as have other experts, that one of the issues with mobile security stems from the variety of operating systems on the market. Most enterprise computers rely on software from Microsoft, meaning there is little adjustment from machine to machine when it comes to data security.
With mobile devices, on the other hand, several operating systems are in use, and they often vary from employee to employee. Particularly in work environments that support employee-owned devices, businesses may be tasked with securing handsets running Apple's iOS, Google's Android, Research In Motion's BlackBerry OS and Nokia's Symbian, among others.
Android, in particular, has been troublesome for many IT departments. Because the software is based on open-source programming, it is easier to create apps for and compatible with a wider variety of devices. However, it is also inherently more vulnerable than other mobile operating systems. Therefore, IT managers are advised to approach it with extra caution to ensure private company information is not exposed or stolen.
"It’s open source, so the code can be much better because a lot of people can work on it and improve it," Sigelman said. "The good guys can see it … but the bad guys can see it as well."
As with all areas of data security, one of the key solutions to protecting mobile devices is educating employees. While this won't guarantee smartphones won't get lost or stolen, ensuring that employees are aware of best practices can help mitigate some of the threats associated with mobile devices and minimize potential damages.