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News

Increased Business Concern Over IT Consumerisation in the Workplace

Kaspersky Lab UK : 06 September, 2011  (Technical Article)
Kaspersky Lab reports on the risks associated with smartphones when used as high connectivity computing devices in commercial environments
Increased Business Concern Over IT Consumerisation in the Workplace
More than half (55 per cent) of companies are now more concerned about the security of their mobile devices than they were a year ago, according to a survey carried out by Kaspersky Lab.

Consumerisation of corporate IT is a trend that is driving this concern, as employees increasingly use personal mobile devices in the workplace. This has a considerable influence on companies’ IT equipment and means that they must align their security concepts for mobile devices. Businesses also require security solutions flexible enough to protect different mobile platforms.

David Emm, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, comments on the potential threat that smartphones pose to businesses:

“We all think of smartphones as phones.  They started out just as phones, after all.  They are much more than that now – they are sophisticated computers. But what they are capable of – beyond just voice and SMS – has crept up us slowly, developing organically, 'behind the scenes' so to speak. So we still refer to them as phones and think of them as phones. As a result, it's not immediately apparent to us that there are potential security risks associated with using them.

“On the one hand, we face mobile malware – there are currently around 3,600 mobile malware signatures in the Kaspersky Lab databases. Mobile malware has been around for some years now. But it's only in the last 18 months that it has become a serious tool in the hands of cybercriminals, i.e. to help them make money illegally.

“So we see SMS Trojans that silently send SMS messages to premium-rate, or international numbers. We see banking Trojans that steal bank information. We see Trojans that steal social network logins or other data from the device – so that cybercriminals can assume the online identity of their victims.

“The growing use of mobile devices must also be seen within the wider context of mobile working. The task of securing data has become harder for businesses as employees increasingly conduct business outside the traditional work place – i.e. at home, at the airport, in the hotel, etc. There's also now a heterogeneous mix of endpoint devices – and a mix of personal and business activities on them. They are also harder to manage because they're geographically distributed. So businesses not only face the growing threat from mobile malware, but also the risk of data leakage.

“The key problem for businesses of all kinds lies in managing security on smartphones.  That is, implementing a 'follow-me security' policy for all devices in the enterprise, wherever they are and however they are being used.
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