With security threats growing and shifting all the time, vulnerabilities take many points, and while you might be focused on shielding your on-premises resources from incursions, this should not come at the expense of protecting your mobile assets. So what is it about mobile endpoint security that makes it so important to get right, and what are the risks you face if you neglect it?
The rise of mobile devices
To give mobile endpoint security its dues, you have to first appreciate the scale of usage that smartphones and tables have in a modern enterprise environment.
They are in the hands of employees throughout the working day and beyond, often doing double duty as personal communication devices. So while you might be looking to tackle aspects like network security and incumbent endpoints like desktop workstations, this could distract you from the real weak link of portable gadgets.
This is further exacerbated by the likelihood of mobile devices being granted unmitigated access to mission-critical internal systems and IT resources.
And while the hardware itself might not be a repository for sensitive data, it is this role as a point of access which puts poorly managed and unprotected mobile devices in such a precarious position.
From apps for communication and collaboration to the prospect of hackers hijacking the integrated cameras and microphones of modern handsets, there are a whole host of potential pain points for malicious third parties to exploit.
The visibility conundrum
It is not just that mobile devices are a concern from an endpoint security perspective because of the myriad ways in which they are connected with enterprise systems.
The other issue is that unless organizations are proactive about mobile device management and oversight, it can be difficult or even impossible for them to detect when unauthorized activities are taking place.
The most significant breaches tend to be those that go unnoticed for protracted periods. And if a mobile device is leveraged as a backdoor by cybercriminals, then it could be left open indefinitely.
The human element
Another point to make about mobile endpoint security is that the facet which can be most easily manipulated by attackers is the end user.
Convincing employees to download dodgy apps, open links in phishing emails and hand over sensitive information through social engineering are all in the toolkit of tactics that digital scammers deploy today.
This likely explains why a third of businesses have been hit by mobile breaches, and this proportion will only continue to increase as more crooks realize the opportunities that are available to them with these vulnerable endpoints.
The avenues for improvement
This troubling state of affairs does not need to remain the norm for many enterprises. All it takes is a combination of adequate mobile device management and security solutions, in combination with rigorous employee training and the rollout of best practices for device use which are actually followed.
It is essentially about bringing mobile-focused security policies and tools in line with what you would expect from endpoint security in other areas. You cannot afford to have well-protected desktop devices and networks, only for a smartphone to be the thing that fails you.
If you cannot cope with the requirements of providing appropriate mobile endpoint security in-house, then there are plenty of service providers that will step in to assist you. And as always, the cost of paying for protection from cyber threats is far lower than that of recovering from breaches.