With More Remote Workers, Securing Mobile Devices Is More Important Than Ever

By Reece Loftus, Contributing Editor  |  October 25, 2022

According to Statista, the number of mobile devices operating worldwide last year stood at almost 15 billion, up from just over 14 billion in the previous year. That figure is expected to reach 18.22 billion by 2025. This seemingly unstoppable growth is driven, in part, by the growth of remote working, as more employees work from home, work only part-time in the office, and are traveling in between.

Statista also points out that improvement in wireless network and increased 5G speeds are driving growth, including the buildouts of more private enterprise 5G networks. In North America, for example, it is expected that there will be 218 million 5G connections, up from 10 million in 2020, equating to around 48 percent of all mobile connections in North America. Globally, this figure should reach 20.1 percent by 2025.

This is good news, except for potential unintended consequences that occur with security breaches, which are also expected to multiply.

“In our work-from-everywhere world, organizations need to centrally manage every mobile device in an efficient way,” said Nick Heddy, Chief Commerce Officer of Pax8. “The MSPs we serve with our B2B Cloud Marketplace are searching with increasing intensity to find the best ways to create frictionless end-user experiences and reduce cyber threats while managing to the lowest Total Cost of Ownership.”

Pax8 has been introducing new cloud security solutions, including those which make it possible to monitor, manage and analyze mobile devices, including in businesses with BYOD environments. One of the solutions MSPs are employing via the Pax8 Cloud Marketplace is IBM’s (News - Alert) popular Security MaaS360 with Watson, with evolved threat management capabilities, including native, advanced features all built into the product.

“We’ve proven to hundreds of MSPs and thousands of their customers that they and their end customers can merge efficiency and effectiveness by managing any existing endpoints, including mobile devices, laptops, desktops, wearables, and ruggedized with threat management capabilities,” said Clint Adams, head of Product Management for the MaaS360 (News - Alert) platform.

IBM Security MaaS360 with Watson is a trusted enterprise mobility management solution to more than 5,000 customers worldwide – from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses. IBM MaaS360 makes working in a mobile world simple and safe by delivering comprehensive endpoint security and management for applications, documents, emails, and devices.

IBM recently introduced a broad range of new features on the MaaS360 platform and, according to Adams, there was a strong case for the convergence of Endpoint Management and Security Platforms, especially in our “work-from-anywhere” world, behind the most recent investments in enhancing the platform.

“Companies are challenged with multiple endpoint security tools or dashboards that limit the ability of SOC analysts and IT admins to effectively mitigate and deal with threats,” Adams explained.

UEM-based Threat Management offers an opportunity to ”de-silo” management and security functions, reducing complexity in the number of endpoint solutions while enhancing integration and aligning risk mitigation approaches.

“MaaS360 Threat Management provides a unified view of device, users, threats, and vulnerabilities in one Admin experience that can easily be used by the IT Admin and SOC functions, with a simplified configuration of security policy, and the publishing and deployment of that policy, with no additional agents to deploy, or separate systems to manage,” Adams said.

With IBM MaaS360 with Watson, IBM’s industry-leading AI engine, MSPs and IT teams leverage augmented threat management capabilities that include centralized policy, plus new detection and responses such as phishing and insider threats.

As part of Cybersecurity Awareness Month every October, experts, including Adams, are taking the opportunity to bring to light the importance of adopting the best technologies and practices that – by necessity – need to be increasingly intelligent and automated.

The platform includes:

Unified Endpoint Management

  • Provide best-in-class UEM/Modern Management coverage across all endpoints
  • Enable co-existence with traditional endpoints management tools for laptop/desktop management
  • Enable support for purpose-built and industry-focused use cases
  • Expand admin and enable end-user experience management
  • Expand Device, App, and end-user Analytics and Automation

Comprehensive Endpoint Security

  • Expand security detection, prevention, and response on mobile endpoints with Threat Management
  • Expand Security Analytics to enable response based on User and Device risk posture
  • Enable Zero Trust and XDR use cases via integrations with the IBM Security stack

“Since the cyber security landscape is so dynamic, and since dark actors are so well-funded, we added many advanced features recently, the identification of high-value insider threat/zero trust detections, consolidated policy and response definition in a centralized policy context, and an enhanced, full-functioned Security Analytics Dashboard, many levels up from the original Risk Dashboard,” Adams said.

The company has also provided API-based integration opportunities.

IBM’s work with Zscaler demonstrates the Threat Telemetry Enrichment in the growing realm of ZTNA (Zero Trust Network Access), offering Threat Intelligence, Network Threat Detections (Phishing, Anomalies, Data Leak/Exfiltration), Network Gateway (News - Alert) and Access Control/ZTNA, along with Threat API and Threat Telemetry feeds.

MaaS360 can use Zscaler to augment detections and responses and can enrich and correlate telemetry to allow for greater visibility of insider and mobile threats in the enterprise.

Distributors, including Pax8 and the MSPs they support, will benefit from additional features by the end of this year, including MaaS360 Mobile Threat Management Roadmap milestones, including New Detections/Responses, Security Dashboard/Analytics/Integration, and Risk-Based Conditional Access.

“Working with cloud marketplace distributors like Pax8, and the MSPs and the customers they serve, we are even more proud of the work we are doing,” Adams said. “The threats keep coming in volume and velocity, and billions of dollars – if not trillions – are being spent each year by criminal organizations that continue to exfiltrate valuable data, in some cases including private information, or who can hold organizations hostage within minutes to getting into their environment, more and more often through mobile devices. The market is growing because the need is so great, and the stakes are so high.”




Edited by Erik Linask