The dangers of not educating your customers on mobile security

The mobile workforce is constantly growing and shows no sign of slowing down as more employees than ever are using personal and company-owned mobile devices to connect to company servers, both inside and outside the office. This not only makes it difficult for businesses to monitor exactly what its employees are doing, but also heightens the issue of security.

The amount of malware on mobile devices is increasing and we have seen dramatic growth in the numbers in recent years. In the period from 2004-13 we analysed almost 200,000 mobile malware code samples. In 2014 alone we analysed a further 295,539 samples and 4,643,582 malicious installation packets. This growth in malware, combined with the increasing adoption of BYOD, means that organisations can no longer afford not to secure mobile devices. Mobile security is paramount, and with businesses increasingly thinking about these security issues, it’s vital that the channel is aware too.

One of our goals at Kaspersky Lab is to educate people about the increasing need to protect many devices – not just computers. Although desktop security is still a pressing issue – we’re seeing the greatest change in the mobile security landscape: and worryingly, the least understanding by consumers and businesses. With this in mind, it’s important that security education happens across the board and with everyone who uses mobile devices for work purposes; staff members from CSOs all the way through to executives must understand the importance of security. However, navigating the minefield of mobile security and raising awareness of the risks isn’t easy and this is where channel partners have the greatest role to play.

As more organisations encourage the use of mobile devices within the workplace, channel partners have an opportunity to take the lead in the education process and position themselves as a trusted advisor on an increasingly complex subject; mobile security.

The era of antivirus-only software is over. Businesses don’t just buy protection software anymore; they buy a feeling or sense of security. In a world of increasingly complex threat vectors, it’s progressively difficult for internal IT teams to keep track of the evolution of malicious activities. Our partners need to adjust to this trend, with our support, or they will struggle to remain competitive.

However, the move towards this trusted partner model requires a focus on education – resellers need to educate their customers about the current security risks. This doesn’t mean moving away from a protect and prevent approach as this could be very dangerous and potentially leave the end customer vulnerable; instead we recommend resellers share best practises to implement a ‘detect and mitigate’ strategy that is relevant to their customer’s business.

Our resellers are now benefitting from additional security offerings which go above and beyond the perimeter and endpoint to allow additional protection by way of detection and mitigation. They are continually looking towards us for thought leadership and guidance to help deliver differentiators and solutions to their customers. By adopting a more solution-orientated approach, resellers are not only seeing tangible financial opportunities but are also being seen by their customers as true value added security advisors.

There’s still a very long way to go for complete security education in businesses and there’s definitely still an opportunity for the channel to make this understanding stronger. With this said, as a company we believe ourselves to be ahead of the security threats – and it’s absolutely key that our partners are too.

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