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Palo Alto Networks 2015 Predictions: Mobility

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As 2014 comes to a close, our subject matter experts check in on what they see as major topics and trends for the new year. (You can read all of our 2015 predictions content here.) 

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Looking to the year ahead, I believe mobile security will continue to be a growing area of concern for enterprises as users become increasingly reliant upon their mobile devices in their business and private lives.

1. Death of Proprietary Containers On Mobile Devices

We all know why the proprietary containers exist. Companies want to stay in control of their data. But have you met any happy users of these solutions? There’s a major problem if the user adoption is not a positive experience, and that just what you get proprietary containers split users’ mobile devices into a business half and a personal half. What’s the solution? We’re seeing far more elegant approaches coming from the operating system vendors, introduced with iOS, continued with Samsung Knox and coming soon on Android L.  The market’s going to call a winner, and I’m going to bet that in 2015, we’ll see proprietary containers disappear.

2. Mobile Malware Will be a Slow Burn

You’ve heard other people say it before, “This is the year of mobile malware.” The numbers are would seem to indicate those people are correct – right now our researchers are finding new mobile malware every 20 minutes.

But I believe there may never be mobile malware at the same infection rate as some of the Windows viruses of the past. That’s because that play is dead. Blowing up millions of computer is pure 1999. Today, malware on the PC is highly targeted, and mobile malware is going to be the same way. There aren’t going to be massive outbreaks of mobile malware, because it’s easy to find the sample if everyone, including the malware researchers, has a copy of it.

Mobile malware is always going to be in lower in numbers, and 2015 is no different. But finding it is very difficult if you don’t have the capabilities to prevent or detect it, especially with all of the BYOD devices running on networks. And furthermore, when you do find, it packs a much stronger punch. There are far more resources (including networking, company data, and recording capabilities) to make the malware more potent than what you see on PCs.

3. Less is More with EMM 

Wait a minute, isn’t more is more? Not with EMM, because the more you apply, the less your users will like it.  Unfortunately, that’s the challenge with thinking inside the box. If your only option for stopping threats is removing the application that can access the threat, then you’re left with removing functionality as the only way to solve security issues.

But in 2015, I think that the smart customer is going to thinking of more than EMM. In fact, they are going to skip a beat in the evolutionary chain. When faced with emerging security threats, the normal response is to rack and stack new security solutions on top of existing infrastructure. This is also knows as the “Value Meal” approach to security: buy more and get more, even though in the end it’s still junk food.

That’s why the next step in EMM is not more EMM.  It’s also not going to be EMM plugged into other security solutions. The smart play is to evaluate all security needs and see what could be done when looking at everything as a whole system. That includes protecting mobile devices from threats, protecting your networks from bad devices, and most importantly, making sure your data is safe.

 

Mobility is among many focus topics at Ignite 2015, where you will tackle your toughest security challenges, get your hands dirty in one of our workshops, and expand your threat IQ. Register now to join us March 30-April 1, 2015 in Las Vegas — the best security conference you’ll attend all year.

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[Palo Alto Networks Blog]

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