Mobile Threat Defense (MTD) has been on the rise for a few years, but it is just now finding a foothold as a legitimate must-have among organizations who have been in “watch and see” mode.
Why now engage an MTD approach?
Jack Madden, Executive Editor at brianmadden.com, last year said, "Some see it as a way to expand the range of devices they trust, whether it be a way to get off of BlackBerry devices, say yes to Android, or permit BYOD. Another common use case is to attest the posture of unmanaged devices, either using an agent or by embedding a mobile threat defense SDK in another app. Most deployments, though, use it in tandem with EMM, since EMM can provide more visibility and options for remediation.”
And so, it is for our clients and prospects at Wireless Analytics. As with any rise in technology adoption, we see trends—some of which stay and some of which go. But it’s always interesting to watch what happens in the early years of adoption while MTD vendors create products to differentiate from their early competition.
Here are some of the MTD or mobile-related trends to look for now and in the coming months:
Integration with EMM - Deployment models of MTD can differ, ranging from freestanding deployment on an individual’s device, to full integration with an EMM program. This is the trend being seen for enterprise adoption. It allows the organization to fully manage remediation of any lurking issues and see more directly into what is happening on both the individual device level, and on devices across the organization.
Security measures that don’t stop at the inbox - The need to protect entire clouds and devices is rising rapidly as scammers recognize more and more the huge payoff potential of accessing an entire business network vs. that of an individual. These threats still most often entice you with something via email, but when accessed within the confines of a company cloud or device, they can wreak havoc on an entire network.
Machine learning as a foundational technology for MTD - "Letting the machines take over" any security-related system sounds like an approach doomed to something very grave. But there’s something to be said for machine learning and how it might aid in the recognition of anomalous behavior among apps on a mobile device. Off-behavior may indicate an upcoming malicious act and recognizing that behavior faster is what gives machine learning the edge on this trending MTD technology.
Real-time protection - Mobile means mobile — meaning in the span of one hour you might move from the highly-secured network of your workplace to the oft-breached network of the donut shop down the street. A MTD system that does not scan devices in real-time (via an on-device app) could be too late to detect an issue.
Blockchain as the cybersecurity revolutionary? - Start-ups of the blockchain variety aren’t just aiming to mine some coin—at least not figuratively. We’re starting to see a new cybersecurity approach emerge in the form of blockchain tech. This will potentially touch every industry, most certainly mobile. Of note: Blockchain company Guardtime just earned the right to protect and secure all of Estonia’s health records.
Botnets and IoT - The Mirai IoT malware has seen updates in the past year that indicate there could be hundreds of thousands of infected home devices. While for now, the best security pros can do is seize domain names and hopefully block new control channels, technology specifically aimed at targeting botnets is on the upswing.
Google Play Protect and the Apple Mobility Partner Program - Google introduced an app called Google Play Protect as part of its mobile security work in 2017. Meanwhile, MTD vendors are signing up to be part of the Apple Mobility Partner Program — sure signs that these two mobile mammoths are upping their game on the biz side of MTD and recognizing the need to support enterprises in their attempts to become mobility-secure.
We see the functionality that MTD brings as the next threat vector that enterprise organizations are starting to put together a strategy on today. In the long run, it remains unseen if this will remain a standalone industry or simply be an extension of an EMM or another platform that you may have already deployed today.
A bonus of deploying most MTD solutions is the cost savings that can be derived to help offset the purchase of the functionality/product. These savings are derived by putting content filtering rules in place that prevent the device from accessing non-corporate approved content categories and by putting limits on data use per app or content category.
By driving down overall data use, you reduce your data usage costs, which is the variable cost in most wireless bills today.
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