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The Next Challenge: Mobile Devices Security

May 17th, 2005

IT Managers admit that managing the security pressures posed by the growing number of mobile devices – laptops, Blackberries, USB devices, PDAs etc. – used by employees is the biggest challenge in information security. Yet, they encourage companies to use them.

A recently survey, conducted by Dynamic Markets, questioned some 300 IT managers across Europe about the state of mobile devices security in European IT departments. The findings revealed that 63 percent of respondents admits that they are not able to provide protection for mobile devices, 30 percent could not say how many mobile devices where is use by employees, 60 percent were unable to say how many iPods and USB Keys in use across the corporate network, 62 percent respondents believe that the size of the threat is bigger than the computer glitch which threatened thousands of businesses at the turn of the Millennium.

”Whilst Y2K turned out to be a non-event, at the time it was the only issue on the minds of IT managers because of the scale of the threat and the size of the problem. We find ourselves in the same situation today with mobile security,” said Daniel Power, Regional Manager – Northern Europe, LANDesk Software.”IT managers recognize the scale of the challenge in front of them but don´t seem quite certain what to do about it.”

In addition, the survey revealed that the biggest source of concern from a security management perspective is the risk of malware getting onto the network from mobile devices.

Despite the overwhelming results, about 90 percent believe their company should continue encourage the use of mobile devices.

”Security vulnerabilities are increasing in number and severity and the continuing rise of mobile devices is only exacerbating the situation. Controlling it comes down to management,” said Andrew Brown, Programme Manager at IDC.

“Organizations need an effective system in place both from a policy perspective to lay the ground rules and a technology perspective to check and automate those rules. Doing this at a centralized location rather than at the perimeters is the best approach to this. Additionally, the security solution needs to be proactive not only in detecting threats like viruses and spyware, but also in automating the necessary corrective measures, quickly and effectively.”

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