Why advances in mobile security technology are a double-edged sword

It is important for technology to keep up with the times and cater to the demands of companies and consumers. And of late, all consumers can think about are the vulnerabilities in their mobile systems, and what they can do to offset them. The recent spate of cyberattacks has made users wary of spyware, malware, etc., and prompted innovations in mobile security technology. However, change is not always positive — there are consequences, and the use of new-age, advanced solutions like automation may prove to be a double-edged sword for IT executives. Let’s find out why.

Focus on mobile security technology

Developments in the field of mobile data security best practices are happening more frequently nowadays, and have overtaken the quick advancement of mobility within the enterprise. But this has proven to be more of an obstacle than anything else, made more complicated by the fact that mobile devices now include new and rising tech — and with it, new security concerns — like the Internet of Things (IoT).

As a result of this growing trend, companies and their IT leaders are trying to figure out a way to develop and foster mobile security technology along with processes that they think will prove useful in providing the right amount of protection to valuable data.

For example, in a university, mobile security has become something of a huge challenge due to the fact that almost every student has more than one mobile device in their possession, which they can use to connect to the university network. For that reason, it is important to implement mobile security technology controls and educate the users about the right ways to defend the network. However, this needs to be done in a way that ensures the mobility coveted by students.

All this has prompted the need for mobile device management systems. They provide users with the ability to check in their three to five mobile devices, which can then be monitored without any hassles. This helps them understand what the active security threats are, identify them, and keep a close eye on them.

Implementing mobile security technology in the corporate sphere

mobile security technology

Corporate mobile security is similar — it focuses more on instituting the right set of controls, such as the deployment of antivirus software ideally suited for the network, or the implementation of identity access management tools for making sure the person using the mobile device is exactly who they say they are. These measures make one thing very clear — IT leaders are beginning to understand that more than mobile devices, it is actually the user who connects to your network.

Approaching network access from a new perspective

Reports are popping up of various organizations that are “redefining access” to networks for the purpose of offsetting such kinds of data security risks. For example, some companies have begun to change the way an employee logs in to gain entry to everything within the company’s network. Now, they’ve started automating identity management to take into account if the employee is allowed to access certain information depending on his or her role in the company, security clearance, and responsibilities. This allows for greater assurance that you’re meeting the level of trust, mitigating risks, and ensuring that people are doing the right thing.

Potential problems of mobile security automation

mobile security technology

However, in spite of the obvious benefits, it would be wrong to consider mobile security automation as a foolproof solution — one that you can set and then forget. What companies should do instead is be on the lookout for problems related to automation. They need to understand that even artificial intelligence is capable of making bad decisions on the basis of bad context, and create false positives that actually prevent people from doing their jobs efficiently.

Another thing to watch out for whenever a company opts for security automation is the sense of complacency that sets in. It could be that people are becoming more used to the idea of tech running things automatically, and therefore, relying more on it. But this is compromising the security of the systems and making things easier for hackers.

This sets a very dangerous precedent — one that puts your business at risk. So, this kind of attitude is discouraged when it comes to protecting mobile technology, such as IoT. What people need to take away from all this is that automation may not work 100 percent of the time. It is mainly a matter of making sure that you think about contingencies and backups if your automation system fails, for whatever reason.

What the future holds

Many experts claim that the biggest hurdle to IoT and mobile security isn’t technology. Rather, it is outdated governmental policies, especially in the United States. The Communications Act of 1934 was passed with the intention of regulating foreign and interstate commerce in communication conducted through radio and wire. Even the laws governing this spectrum were written way back in the year 1993. This means that “new” advancements like Bluetooth were not included in these policies, leading to major consequences for retailers using WiFi networks to manage payment data.

To safeguard valuable company and customer data, businesses must possess the ability to monitor aspects like what service set identifiers are present, what Mac addresses are treated as access points, and who is trying to connecting to them.

The impact of these outdated policies will become even more profound as mobile technology continues on its path of evolution. For example, a 2017 Forrester Report found that 39 percent of U.S. adults think biometric verification is a good way to access confidential financial accounts. According to Forrester, security professionals should seriously consider capitalizing on this trend, and implement bio-authentication security measures into the ongoing identity management efforts of mobile security technology initiatives.

But in reality, as biometrics become more widespread, they lead to a lot of complications for corporate mobile security. Due to the unique nature of biometric data, criminals are more interested in these for hacking purposes.

So, it is no longer just about security. Companies must expand their outlook when it comes to their idea about security, safety, privacy and compliance. These things will become even more crucial as IoT, machine learning, and AI becomes more commonplace in the future.

Photo credit: Pixabay

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