Attack of the Devices

It caused confusion and panic. A handful of actors led by Orson Welles, captivated radio listeners all over the country on Halloween-eve 1938 with a chilling account of an alien invasion. 

I hesitate to call it a hoax. Welles’ audio adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel The War of the Worlds generated a slight outrage in the media the following days. According to legend, some of those who tuned into the broadcast on The Mercury Theatre on the Air missed the program’s introduction, which clearly stated that what listeners were about to hear was a dramatization – not an actual alien swarm descending on earth.  

Since, alien movies have become a regular fixture in pop culture, featuring odd-looking creatures with advanced intelligence looking to deplete the planet of its rich resources and wipe out all inhabitants.  

Today’s ‘alien’ invasion

It may not be green creatures with massive almond-shaped eyes, but organizations are dealing with their own invasion as we speak. Not to be over-dramatic, but I’d label it: “The Attack of the Devices.” It won’t be coming to a theater near you, heck, it’s not even straight to Blu-ray worthy, but it is a real issue for companies all over the globe.  

Gone are the days of solely supporting the desktop. Employees want more ways to be productive whenever and wherever. This has created a demand for modern IT teams to support devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops and more. The byproduct of this is a potential security nightmare due in part to this growing attack surface. 

Securing your devices

Security was repeatedly noted as a primary focus for IT managers across EMA’s survey results. In addition to being the most challenging to support, security was identified as the most time-consuming, the most difficult, and the most costly administration practice.   

Even with all this attention, organizations continue to experience significant breaches in endpoint security. More than half of all IT managers surveyed by EMA indicated they had to deal with a malware event (e.g., a virus infection or Trojaned application) in just the last year. Also, 45% reported a device was lost or stolen, which may have placed the company at risk if those devices contained any sensitive data or access to business services.  

In total, 68% of respondents indicated a security breach occurred in the last year. Add those organizations that don’t have monitoring solutions to enable risk management, and you’re dealing with a much higher number.  

Protecting data and proprietary information gets even trickier when you consider how this material is being shared. According to EMA, 89% of survey respondents reported their users regularly employed unsecure methods for data sharing, such as public email systems (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo Mail, etc.), unsecure public cloud storage, Facebook, and physical media devices (e.g., thumb drives). Depending on the business, these practices can open the door to regulatory fines and increase the likelihood of a security breach.   

EMA suggests that organizations should give users a secure option for sharing and preventing data from being distributed through unwanted means. Also, encryption should be applied from creation, to storage, and even distribution.   

In today’s threat-laden landscape, IT professionals must have enterprise security at top of mind. EMA identifies some serious challenges to making security the primary focus:  

  • It’s difficult 
  • It’s expensive 
  • It’s VERY time consuming 

However difficult, expensive, and time consuming this practice might be, the alternative should be enough of a motivation. News reports critical of organizations who don’t secure and protect their systems and data can cause significant damage to a business’ reputation and result in lost confidence.  

While it’s important to reduce risk and mitigate any breach, EMA says you can’t forget about the business and your users. Enterprises must prevent risk exposure without impacting access to applications and data for authorized users or harming performance.  

The big picture

Want more expert advice on how to secure your data while giving users the access they need? Click on the banner below to read EMA’s full report or contact an Ivanti representative to see how we can help you manage all your endpoints and reduce your security risk.