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'Shrek' holds the key to your mobile security fairy tale

With Comcast’s acquisition of DreamWorks Animation in April, “Shrek” fans could see the fairy tale-esque story revived with more movies in the coming years, according to Forbes. In the original film, the titular character tells his sidekick Donkey that there is more to ogres than their scary exteriors; like onions, they have layers. The same goes for a strong mobile security approach.

Like Donkey, someone might ask an IT professional why he doesn’t just build a firewall around his organization’s network to keep mobile data safe. Like Shrek, he would tell them there’s more to it than that. A firewall can be effective, but all it takes is one user clicking the wrong link from what they think is a trusted source, and the firewall fails. Instead, mobile IT shops need to layer their security strategies with additional protections such as biometric authentication, microsegmentation and more.

Biometric authentication uses a person’s physical features to grant access to a device or app. The classic example is a fingerprint reader. Windows Hello on some Windows 10 Mobile devices takes it even further with iris scans and facial recognition technology.

Next, advanced firewalls and web gateways can combat phishing and denial-of-service attacks with features such as URL filtering. These tools also analyze threats and deliver near real-time feedback on network risks.

Microsegmentation creates zones within a data center. Instead of one general security perimeter, multiple smaller perimeters protect specific areas within the data center. This setup makes the attack surface smaller, and a breach only affects one area instead of the entire network. Admins should look for microsegmentation tools when they consider an enterprise mobility management (EMM) vendor.

Finally, mobile email threats are more advanced than ever. Spear-phishing attacks, for example, trick users into thinking a trusted source sent the message. Then, hackers can access crucial mobile data and even steal credentials. Enhanced email gateways can protect against spear phishing and other malware on mobile devices. Many EMM tools also include encryption that scrambles data that travels between users’ mobile devices and the organization’s data stores and back-end systems.

Although Donkey prefers Shrek use cake or parfaits rather than onions as a point of comparison — parfaits are delicious, after all — the analogy works because there is more to Shrek than what’s on the surface. Whichever one you compare mobile security to, the end result is the same: IT must take a layered approach. Shrek’s advice can ensure that your mobile security fairy tale ends happily ever after.