Mobile security leveraging the security cloud
Solution Centre - Solutions That Mean Business
Tablets and smartphones pose different challenges to desktops and even laptops.
Mobile laptops pose their own challenge, being outside the corporate perimeter, perhaps on hotel Wi-Fi.
Most mobile devices contain corporate data and most will reconnect to the corporate LAN at some point.
Mobiles pose security challenges. The variety of operating systems and associated restrictions can make implementing a conventional security model well neigh impossible. Forks in Android and iOS specifically not allowing malware scanning and similar functions are challenge enough. Then there is the question of who owns the device and what the owner will tolerate. There is also the challenge of mixed use, with personal and business data on the same device. Finally, there is the user experience and trying to implement security that doesn’t cause the user to try and work round it.
A traditional approach could be to not allow corporate assets on the device, but that is self-defeating. Equally bad is the impact on the user experience of trying to back haul all traffic through head office over a VPN, just to apply filters and audit trails before breaking out to the internet.
Screen Real Estate
A big problem with mobiles, from the security point of view, may not be conventional virus attacks, but more attacks which leverage the reduced screen real estate on the mobile device. This is significant as the user often can’t see the whole URL as they would on a desktop, nor can they often see things like the green bar for extended validation certificates. This opens users up to a much wider range of phishing and social engineering techniques than they might fall for with a desktop.
There huge range of applications available for every mobile platform.
In September 2014 Gartner said that more than 75% of mobile applications will fail basic security tests through 2015. Gartner further predict that by 2017, the focus of endpoint breaches will shift to tablets and smartphones.
The reality is that many applications gather information from the device which they don’t need to operate.
Direct to Cloud
The alternative is to leverage the cloud. Whether the device is corporate owned or BYOD, forwarding traffic from both apps and browsing through a security cloud enables full bidirectional inspection of all traffic, with negligible impact of the user experience because the cloud is everywhere, so the latency impact is minimal.
A further benefit is the cost saving of not back hauling all the traffic, perhaps postponing a head office WAN upgrade.
Visibility and Audit Trails
Whether it is providing visibility of browsing activity or tracking user views, updates and downloads from cloud services, having an audit trail of user activity is simply achieved with a cloud security service, because it sees all traffic en route. This enables analytics and compliance audits, identifying mobile browsing, application traffic application usage patterns and security and privacy threats.
Scanning both inbound and outbound traffic brings significant benefits. Inbound inspection can check against malicious content and advanced web browsing threats along with browser based threats like phishing and spyware. Also app based threats from malicious or rogue apps which create security or privacy risks. Checking outbound traffic can also enforce DLP policies in-line and offline, with alerts, blocking and quarantining, including extending existing DLP solutions such as McAfee DLP, RSA DLP and Symantec DLP.