MDM, the first brick to the big wall of mobile security

Posted by Faustine Tournay on August 09, 2016
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A matter of cycles

When we look at the evolution of technology during the past 30 years, cycles are always coming back the same way;

  • - First, we are getting equipped. No matter what, a new breakthrough technology will always tickle the consumer, even before proving its worth.
  • - When the deployment is done, the question of the management of this new technology is asked; what is to be done with what is deployed.
  • - Then, and only then, the security aspect of this new equipment smashes the consumer in the face. The enthusiasm has faded to let the concern of data breaches grow.

Laptops are maybe the most representative aspect of theses cycles. After the eagerness of getting a new communication tool that could be brought everywhere, security concerns quickly arrived, changing the whole vision of it. How could we control this mobility while fully enjoying it?


What is the big thing about smartphones?

Even if humans should learn from their mistakes, the same cycle broke through when smartphones arrived on the market. This big rush about the iPhone in 2008 changed many lives, from the ordinary end-consumer to companies that had to face this revolution. Even more so, Gartner says that by 2018 – let’s say tomorrow – more than 50% of users will use a tablet or smartphone first for all online activities. Consequently, companies obviously had to rethink their strategy for a professional use of mobile devices. However, most organizations do not progress as quickly as mobility does and have to expect their users to want more before they are even ready.

That is why, from big companies to SMBs, mobility and Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions have now become a part of their strategy. Proving this point, IBM has discovered during a survey that in 2016, 42% of surveyed companies would focus their spending on MDM and 45% on virus detection tools. Following laptops’ path, while many organizations saw an increase of their productivity when opting for mobility, security issues appeared bigger than expected. A new model arrived; Apps are the core of those new phones, handling every data that could be accessed. It appeared even more dangerous when companies’ smartphones have Apps in their Operating System; they manipulate data from the inside to communicate with the outside, making it way more difficult to hold back malware attacks.


MDM being the baseline, what is left to be done?

Thankfully, the possibility to personalize and control mobile fleet was possible thanks to Mobile Device Management, letting the end-user free enough to enjoy their smartphones or tablets. But now that MDM proved invaluable for mobile devices adoption by everyone, what is to happen next?

Though MDM solutions are the first brick to the big wall of securing mobility, companies will have to take it to the next step to avoid breaches, using security solutions crafted for this new technology. While classic antimalware is completely obsolete and inadequate for the Apps model, every organization has specific needs regarding their security, calling for different model of protection. The security is now on top of everyone’s minds, but once the last step of this cycle will be complete, a new issue will soon arise and give us food for thought.


Topics: Mobile Application Security