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Mobile Management Featured Article

November 03, 2009

More Smartphones Means More Security Threats: Experts Suggest Ways to Cope

By Marisa Torrieri, TMCnet Editor

Smartphones account for a growing chunk the handset market – but with their growth comes increased security threats.
According to new research by Discretix (News - Alert), a company that makes embedded security solutions for the mobile, storage, automotive, networking, office automation and industrial markets, there are number of ways that the “threat” landscape has changed with the sophistication of cell phones.
For example, phones that allow for downloaded applications may pose an even greater threat by introducing malware and spyware onto a device. Newer operating systems like Google’s Android (News - Alert) are vulnerable, too, because they are open-source based, and miss the traditional safeguards and closed environments of other real-time operating systems. Plus, anything with open OS platform is susceptible to viruses, which can create significant service disruptions.  
Armed with this information, what’s a mobile manager at an enterprise to do?
In addition to putting in place a procurement policy that includes checks and balances for who gets what type of wireless device and plan, as well as a usage policy, enterprises need solid security policies, Pankaj “PJ” Gupta, founder and CEO of Amtel (News - Alert), a company that helps enterprises to rein in wireless management expenses and improve productivity, told TMCnet.
“Corporations need to determine if their sector needs to comply with regulations of their governing bodies,” said Gupta. For example, hospital IT staff should check to make sure wireless management security policies set forth comply with the privacy regulations outlined in HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
“Depending on their requirements, organizations would decide various aspects of security policy.”  
Factors worthy of consideration include the length and/or complexity of passwords on devices, whether to erase or time out for unsuccessful logins or allow Bluetooth, WiFi (News - Alert) and other technologies to reside on a device.
During a recent webinar – “The Final Frontier: Secure Unified Communications to Any Device in Any Place” – hosted by TMCnet, Aberdeen (News - Alert) Group and Sipera Systems, speakers discussed the differences between non-real-time and real-time communications, and why the latter is on the rise. According to Andrew Borg, a senior research analyst of wireless and mobility markets for Aberdeen Group, “Real-Time UC” includes chat, text and video communications, while traditional voicemail and e-mail communications fall under the “Non Real-Time UC” -- which is time-delayed and easier to secure.
“Security must support smartphones as well as laptops and other devices,” Borg told listeners as he discussed mobile security strategies. “It’s not enough to have a security envelope around e-mail and voicemail.”
Marisa Torrieri is a TMCnet Web editor, covering IP hardware and mobility, including IP phones, smartphones, fixed-mobile convergence and satellite technology. She also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet's gadgets and satellite e-Newsletters. To read more of Marisa's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri

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