Mobility and Security Change Each Other

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Wireless security products and procedures are fundamentally changing what until recently was a wired, office-bound sector.


There are a lot of examples. This week, Symantec and Juniper announced they will partner on unified threat management (UTM) products. The concept behind UTM is simple: Take all the disparate security applications, put them into a single device and let customers control them from one console.


The need to get on top of mobility makes UTM hot. Companies know that they must master their mobile/wireless domain; the most efficient way to do it is by linking it with the existing infrastructure. The point is that such an acknowledgment assumes the importance of security hardware and software.


Another example can be seen in a piece written by Erna Arnesen, a vice president at Symantec. The overall theme is that Windows systems are ubiquitous, and medium-sized businesses that want to survive must zealously protect them. One of the increasing complexities that makes this challenging is the growth of mobility and the increasing value of the data being carried around and sent through the air, Arnesen says. Again, mobility and wireless are key drivers, not the afterthoughts they were a few years ago.


The final way in which mobility is changing the DNA of security is at the policy level. Companies spend a lot of time composing dos and don'ts for employees. These are important in the wired realm (e.g., "don't use file sharing at work"); they arguably are even more vital once employees have left the office (e.g., "don't leave your laptop carrying the Social Security numbers of all of our customers unattended on a table at Starbucks."). Companies' ability to get their employees to cooperate will go a long way toward determining the organization's stability.


Mobile security has been evolving from bolt-on to core element for a couple of years now. The greater capacity and processing power of smartphones and other mobile devices suggests that the biggest challenges are yet to come.