Mobile Computing Pushes Security into the Cloud

Michael Vizard

As the number of endpoint devices that need to be secured thanks to the rise of mobile computing continues to expand, many IT organizations are quickly becoming overwhelmed. This growing sense of helplessness is driving organizations to rethink their approach to security by relying more on cloud security services.

Naturally, none of this is lost on the major security vendors. For example, IBM today launched a cloud security service for mobile computing devices, called the IBM Hosted Mobile Device Security Management service, based on agent software that IBM specifically developed to manage security on smartphones and tablet PC devices.

According to Latha Maripuri, director of IBM security services, the rise of mobile computing is pushing IT organizations to reevaluate the way they manage security across the enterprise, which means that customers are looking for service providers that can manage security for them from one end of the enterprise to another. That approach, says Maripuri, makes it easier to apply a common set of policies across all the systems and devices in the enterprise while also being able to roll all that information up into a central console for the purpose of analyzing various threats.

Mobile computing security is already a vexing issue that is only going to get more complicated to manage. An IBM study this year revealed that 73 percent of business leaders surveyed currently allow mobile devices or tablets to connect to corporate networks. And yet, the number of mobile exploit releases is expected to double this year, according to IBM's X-Force Researchers, and more than a third of those surveyed by IBM say mobile computing devices are not adequately protected.


To address those specific issues, Maripuri says the IBM service not only secures the devices from malware, but also locates stolen devices and can either secure or wipe any data on the device. It can also be used to track usage of the device and prevent the installment of an unapproved applications.

IT organizations as a rule are already short-handed. And yet the number of things that need to be managed and secured keeps growing exponentially. For all intents and purposes, it's not a matter of whether IT organizations are going to be leveraging cloud security services as much as it is when.

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