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Lock down mobile data protection for your enterprise

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Why is a layered enterprise mobile security strategy best?

With security hazards around every corner, IT must know where to draw lines of defense. A best practice is implementing layered mobile security.

A layered mobile security strategy protects against the many types of threats lurking in mobile cyberspace, where the traditional rules that govern security no longer apply.

As mobility has become an enterprise mainstay, IT teams are up against risks, such as malware, data interception, social engineering and direct attacks. To make matters worse, mobile device users download malicious apps, visit infected websites and use unauthorized cloud services to conduct business. They also connect to public Wi-Fi networks that expose their devices to malware or viruses, which find their way into the corporate network. Users may also lose their devices through theft or carelessness.

The only hope of defending against these onslaughts is with a comprehensive, integrated, layered approach to security that incorporates measures at each vulnerable point. That way, if a breach occurs in the first barrier, the other barriers can prevent further damage.

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A layered mobile security strategy could include technologies such as mobile device management, mobile application management (MAM), advanced device biometrics, network segmentation, device containerization or antimalware and antiransomware. Also, incorporate monitoring systems and software testing for security-related issues, and apply security patches and updates at regular intervals.

There is no one approach to a layered mobile security strategy -- an effective strategy leverages available tools to ensure protection at any possible weak point. IT might implement biometric authentication, which would require all mobile devices to support biometric access, as well as implement the systems necessary to support these devices. But biometrics is only part of the answer. IT must ensure firewalls and gateways are up to date and utilize URL filtering to protect against phishing campaigns or advanced malware to prevent denial-of-service attacks.

IT teams are up against risks, such as malware, data interception, social engineering and direct attacks.

Another important component of any layered security strategy is comprehensive network monitoring to look for suspicious activity on managed mobile devices, such as someone trying to access sensitive data. Admins should use a monitoring tool that alerts them to any questionable activity, so they can respond immediately to any threats. IT should be able to easily access event data from a central location and generate reports that provide comprehensive insights into systems and usage patterns.

Enterprises should also review the applications they implement and how they manage them. If an organization develops enterprise mobile apps, IT should consider security from the app's inception through its implementation and thoroughly test it for any potential security holes. Admins can use MAM tools to protect sensitive data at rest and in motion.

In a comprehensive layered mobile security strategy, no one point should represent a weak security link. When it comes to supporting mobile devices in the enterprise, IT must protect sensitive resources at every phase -- on the back end, network components and mobile devices themselves -- with the ultimate goal of safeguarding all corporate data, wherever it resides.

Next Steps

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This was last published in December 2016

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Essential Guide

Lock down mobile data protection for your enterprise

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