There’s a lot more talk about potential threats to mobile security that any actual activity. But as mobile devices increasingly become used to initiate transactions, there’s no doubt that mobile computing devices present a tempting target for cyber criminals.
A big part of any conversation about mobile security has to start with how savvy are users of these devices about security. To try and ascertain that, Sophos recently surveyed 350 end users as part of an effort to better understand to what lengths end users might be willing to go to secure these devices.
The survey finds that about a third of them are not supplied with a phone by their company, while 26 percent said they were supplied with a Blackberry device from Research in Motion (RIM). Apple iPhone and Google Android were essentially statistically tied for second.
Now while Apple iPhone and Google Android smartphones are the must-have devices of the moment, it’s interesting to see how many companies, which tend to be a little more security conscious than the average end uses, are still on the Blackberry platform.
That brings up an interesting set of possibilities. Support that RIM makes something of its alliance with Microsoft to create a secure smartphone device that is either really cool or just cool enough for corporate customers are paranoid about security. Wouldn’t that mean that suddenly security might become a point of differentiation in the mobile computing space?
Among a significant number of corporate customers mobile security is already a significant issue, which is one reason why you may not want to count RIM out just yet. After all, hackers tend to target popular platforms that have the broadest number of users. If RIM is sitting comfortably in third or fourth place in actual number of users, that alone might serve to make Blackberries the single most secure mobile computing devices going.
Of course, regardless of the mobile computing device being used Beth Jones, a senior threat researcher at Sophos, strongly recommends the use of encryption. The simple fact of the matter is that as more consumer-grade devices work their way into the enterprise, the more likely it is something can go horribly wrong. But given the fact that there’s no stopping the consumerization of IT now, Jones says it’s time most companies revisited their encryption strategies. The good news is that encryption has become easier to manage, and now everything needs the same level of encryption. But no encryption at all, is the IT equivalent of just standing around and waiting for something really bad to inevitably happen. And no matter how much trouble that end user gets in, chances are there will be plenty of blame left over for the IT staff as well.