Antivirus protection on a desktop computer is a no-brainer—even the least tech-savvy home computer owner knows it’s vital to have the very best installed. But what about antivirus software for smartphones and tablets?According to a study done by Kaspersky, 40% of smartphone users do not have antivirus software installed on their phones.
Especially in the realm of enterprise mobility, this can be an issue. Whether employees are allowed to bring their own mobile devices from home as part of a BYOD program, or enterprises provide workers with company-owned devices, the question remains. Is antivirus software necessary to protect the private company data accessible via these mobile devices from malware and viruses?
Mobile Device Security
Smartphones and tablets are built in such a way that they are not easily infected with viruses. Their design takes into account the threats of the modern internet, and so, for example, many do not support Java runtime engines or Flash. Mobile apps are usually downloaded from secure app stores, rather than questionable sources, and phones are automatically updated on a regular basis, strengthening their defenses.
However, viruses and malware for smartphones do exist. There have been various cases of malicious attacks, for example, in which private text messages have been collected and sent via email to hackers, or bots hidden within game apps start sending texts costing the phone owner $20 each.
While iOS devices cannot download apps from sources other than Apple’s strictly regulated App Store, Android devices can—and some of those apps may be harboring malware. Even iOS devices can be susceptible to viruses, though in a different way: Apps such as Dropbox allow users to download files that may contain malware. Even if the infection does not manifest itself on the iOS device itself, due to the sandboxing of each individual app, if that device is connected to a company network, it can rapidly infect company computers via that connection.
What To Do
When considering the dangers of viruses and malware in a BYOD or CYOD program, it’s prudent to require employees to have antivirus protection on their mobile device. But even antivirus apps can be problematic. Most cannot access every corner of a device, and some must be manually activated every so often to scan for malware, rather than running constantly.
The safest route to take: Design your enterprise mobile apps with security as a top priority. That way, no matter what happens to any one device, your company is protected. Content lockers can shield data from attempts to access it, and data encryption can add an extra layer of difficulty for hackers. Active intrusion detection as well as secondary authentication of credentials can also defend your enterprise from malicious software.
To discuss the ways in which you can protect your company’s network and data from malware and hackers, contact SevenTablets. We can help you craft an enterprise mobility strategy that will boost operational efficiency while keeping your assets secure.
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When Kishore isn’t cultivating his teams of passionate thought leaders within the IT scene, as a licensed private pilot he enjoys playing in the clouds, community service, and being active in Dallas based Health Wildcatters. Furthermore, he is a devoted family man who places great value in spending time with his wife and two children.
Mr. Khandavalli earned a Master's degree from the University of Akron in Ohio.
Latest posts by Kishore Khandavalli (see all)
- [White Paper] Mobile Security: How Will Your Company Address It? - October 18, 2016
- [Infographic] The Enterprise Mobile Security Checklist - September 5, 2016
- [White Paper] Mitigating Your Biggest Mobile Strategy Risk - July 15, 2016