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Wandera 2020 Predictions: It's Time to Hedge Your Bets When it Comes to Device Management

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual series exclusive.

By Dan Cuddeford, Senior Director of Systems Engineering, Wandera

It's Time to Hedge Your Bets When it Comes to Device Management

As we head into the new year, security professionals everywhere are piecing together clues from 2019 that might offer some insight into what 2020 will bring by way of threats and cyberattacks. The realm of mobile security in particular is on track to see an evolution of threats, as phishing attacks become more sophisticated, corporate devices become increasingly difficult to manage, and more resources are poured into risk assessment to redefine endpoint protection. Wandera's 2019 Mobile Threat Landscape report revealed that a new phishing domain is launched every 20 seconds. With these attacks evolving everyday companies will need to look ahead to determine a plan of attack (and more importantly, defense) when it comes to mobile security. Here's what mobile security professionals can expect in 2020:

As threats skyrocket, machine learning will be the best bet when it comes to protection and detection.

Just as Apple and Google have made efforts to harden their devices and platforms, threat actors have kept pace with more sophisticated attacks, particularly as it pertains to spear phishing and brand-specific attacks. With 81 percent of mobile phishing attacks already taking place outside of corporate email, it's clear bad actors are now studying their victims' behaviors to better exploit their weaknesses. With this move, attackers are favoring attacks via messaging apps and social media, where users are vulnerable to fake profiles and convincing notifications. This means that with the number of threats exploding, signature-based detection techniques aren't going to be enough. Security professionals will need to turn to machine learning to defend against these more sophisticated threats. Recent discoveries of malware and adware slipping through the cracks on both Google Play and Apple's App Store prove that even the giants aren't immune. Companies across the board should take caution and employ machine learning to stay ahead of adversaries.

Organizations will decrease device management and prioritize application management.

Increased privacy concerns, end-user pushback, a revolving door of contractors, and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) scenarios will lead some organizations to push off the adoption of proper security management tools. One solution for the deluge of devices is the implementation of application protection policies that focus on sensitive information within certain apps, rather than trying to secure the devices themselves. This includes Microsoft's Mobile Application Management (MAM) app protection policies, which allow organizations to manage and protect data within certain applications, with some versions going even further to allow management over apps on almost any device, including personal. Adoption of policies like this demonstrate how organizations are trying to meet varying end-user requirements by revising the end-point focused mobile security strategy they may have had in the past. When it comes to the debate on privacy and security, many people still believe you need to choose one or the other, but the reality is you can have both, you just have to find the right approach. In the new year, organizations will have to grapple with privacy concerns and straddle the line between device management policies that protect both end-user privacy and freedom, while still safeguarding sensitive organizational data.

There will be an increased focus on mobile risk assessments.

More and more, organizations are looking for one solution from a single vendor that checks the box for mobile security. This approach has resulted in a greater focus on mobile risk assessments, as organizations are realizing they can't defend against everything, so need to determine where they're most at risk to better focus their efforts. This has spurred a movement from an endpoint centric approach to one that centers on applications and data. Heading into the new year, organizations will increasingly put all of their eggs in the risk assessment basket, choosing to narrow in on sensitive data in protected apps versus tackling the entire device and relying on context to determine access to sensitive apps. Soon, authentication and access will not only rely on biometrics, but location, the network you're connected to or the country you're working from. In 2020, context will reign supreme when it comes to authentication.

There will be an increased use of custom apps on mobile devices.

This emphasis on app security is not unfounded, as 2020 will likely be the year that organizations extend their IT support beyond simple contacts and calendar apps and allow users to access sensitive data from their devices. More organizations will dedicate resources to app development and customization, allowing a secure outlet for sensitive data that won't require device management on the part of organizations.That said, enterprises cannot assume custom apps are built securely, so this will open up new avenues for attack, as quickly developed, customized applications are often the worst offenders when it comes to security.

The 2019 Verizon Mobile Security Index reported that 33 percent of organizations admitted to having suffered a compromise involving a mobile device. This number is only likely to increase as users are granted access to increasingly sensitive data from their personal devices. Heading into 2020, security professionals will need to redefine organizational priorities when it comes to mobile, and learn to evolve with the changing landscape to keep their information secure across platforms, regardless of the device.


About the Author

Dan Cuddeford, Senior Director of Systems Engineering, Wandera

Dan Cuddeford

Dan is Senior Director of Systems Engineering at Wandera, the leading global provider of mobile security. An experienced engineer in network and cloud security, Dan has worked with start-ups through to global enterprises including AWS and Cisco. Wandera is a leading mobile security company, providing multi-level protection against cyber threats for users, endpoints, and corporate applications.

Published Tuesday, January 07, 2020 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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