Mobile Security May Get Personal

Carl Weinschenk

Jack Gold, who recently made headlines with his claims that Microsoft's push e-mail was highly insecure, is making an interesting prediction. He says mobile users will carry around personalized security devices within a few years.


The devices will be offshoots of corporate security appliances in which a single receptacle, or chassis, houses a variety of security software. The increasing power and sophistication of mobile devices will make it possible to create a unified threat management-like (UTM) device that can be either carried around by the user, inserted like a wireless card into the end point device, or actually be embedded within the system.


Such an evolution would dramatically change the mobile security landscape. For one thing, companies probably could more easily offer different levels of security to different remote workers. Truckers would be issued devices with one level of security, mobile sales people a second, corporate executives a third, and so on.


As Gold points out, the granularity would facilitate far more efficient and effective network management.


There probably are a host of technical issues -- such as the amount of memory required and the demands on mobile batteries -- raised by this prospective approach to security. We aren't engineers, but our sense is that there is nothing inherent in the approach that is more demanding than today's mobile security. Indeed, it seems likely that it would be less demanding.


This seems like a clever answer to the increasing threats confronting remote users. Some emerging security technology today -- such as BlackBerry's holster device -- are intriguing but, at the same time, seem a tad desperate.


The cleverness and flexibility of hackers and virus pushers presents a scary picture, particularly when compared to the slower-moving world of traditional mobile anti-virus software. This may be one way to turn the tables.

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