Pulse 2011: Businesses must tackle growing mobile threat

Mobile security threats have grown exponentially in recent years and organisations must ensure policies are in place to stave off attacks, according to IBM.

Mobile management

Businesses are focusing more heavily on security but they still need to do more to ensure the pros of using mobile devices aren't outweighed by the cons.

So claims research by IBM which acknowledges that organisations are getting better at proactive security management but that more work is required to ensure the blurred lines between consumer and business devices don't adversely affect security efforts.

Some 90 per cent of business leaders plan to invest to beef up security management and resources, according to IBM research unveiled at its Pulse 2011 event this week in Las Vegas.

"Security has to be a forethought, not an after thought," said IBM's Scott Hebner. "And you have to empower everybody, you can't just have the chief security officer (CSO) looking after the security policy. That won't work."

More than half of the IT decision makers surveyed said they plan on increasing spending on security for smartphones and other mobile devices.

Almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of respondents said such devices are allowed to connect to their networks, but more than a third (36 per cent) admitted they don't feel the security is quite up to scratch to ensure safe access and use.

IBM also gave event attendees insight into a report on the issue, which, when released later this month, will highlight the growing issues around mobile security and offer guidance as to how best to tackle them.

While there is undoubtedly benefits on offer to businesses that let employees use mobile devices, security is still a big hurdle, according to the research.

It's imperative mobile security best practices are created and enforced, according to Tom Cross IBM X-Force's threat intelligence manager.

"You have to have a set of policies for how corporate data should be managed on a laptop. Can you include those same policies when that data finds its way onto a tablet?" he said.

"[Ask] what are my policies for information use and how can I apply them to these devices and what tools can I use to enforce these policies?"

Such security policies need to apply to both company owned and employee-owned devices, according to Cross.

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