Last Updated: 7th November, 2019
Consumer Applications Security: Mobile platforms are extremely critical to our professional and personal life and contain far more information now than ever before. Modern business is progressively taking place in the cloud and on personal mobile devices with the widespread availability of cloud technology, diminishing the typical perimeter of the network and disclosing countless different gradients of security threat.
The devices that employees take to the workplace aren’t isolated from other networks. They come with the various sets of consumer applications that are installed on the device. As per the State of Mobile report of App Annie in 2019 (via PPC Land): “In 2018, customers downloaded 194 billion mobile applications, spending $101 billion to app stores, as well as consumed 3 hours per day on their mobile phones and tablets.”
At the same time, mobile threats are evolving. Cisco clearly states cyber security specialists grade mobile devices as the hard-to-defend an enterprise asset.
As Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) and by extension, consumer applications, get increasingly popular in the modern workplace, the future of data breaches and cybercrime lies in mobile applications and operating systems.
For example, a messaging app recently ran into some trouble when hackers exploited a vulnerability and introduced Pegasus spyware into the mobile application by simply calling the target. Once the spyware was deployed, the camera and microphone of a user’s phone could be turned on, personal and corporate emails and texts were exposed, and user location data were collected.
Even as radical, this sequence of events perfectly illustrates how fragile mobile applications and technologies have become to cyber espionage and that a consumer mobile application can and will actually potentially arm a device against a certain business in the first place. That is why enterprises need to ensure mobile devices that have access to enterprise data are not vulnerable to rampant threats.
To keep up with the future of cyber-attacks, we need to rethink our security approach entirely. A mobile device-centric pragmatic approach to zero trust can address the security vulnerabilities experiencing a modern business as well while providing the necessary the speed and power that a modern establishment requires.
All of this delivers the accessibility and IT controls necessary to ensure, administer and calibrate any system, device, consumer application or network used to retrieve information.
A zero trusts mobile device-centric strategy, therefore offers on-device threat detection and remediation of the situation. An extensive security dimension of threat intelligence senses consumer applications that are distrustful or even out of compliance, such as the common instance above about the messaging application.
If a consumer application is suspicious or out of compliance, the IT Department can notify, monitor, block, quarantine or completely retire the device, keeping company resources secure. This is critical as attackers increasingly target mobile devices and consumer applications with sophisticated attacks.
Implementing and realizing the additional benefits of a mobile device-centric zero trust approach to the issue really is quite simple and straightforward. Firstly, an organization has to equip users with a secure digital workplace space with all the apps they need, on the devices of their choice.
It then needs to ensure that it grants the user access to authorized corporate data based on full context, including protection for data at rest and in motion with encryption and threat monitoring. Lastly, it is vital to enforce security policies with ongoing monitoring to quarantine devices, alleviate threats and maintain compliance.
A mobile device-centric zero trust, pragmatic approach explains the difference between elevated security and low friction, and that is necessary for efficiency, by being really easy to deploy and imperceptible to its end users. This is of utmost importance, given the expectation by consumers — and therefore employees — that technology will be easy to deploy and deliver a seamless experience.
The BYOD trend has blurred the line between personal and business productivity consumer applications. Unless a consumer application has not been secured properly, nevertheless, it might empower a device as well as pull off your own business.
To avoid this threat, organizations need to rethink their security strategy now, so that employees can fully utilize mobile and cloud technology to enhance their experience at work, without compromising on the integrity of the organization and its data.