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Hackers see your smartphone as a vulnerable entry point

The proliferation of mobile devices is providing cyber criminals with additional launch points for targeted attacks, spurring demand for mobile endpoint protection solutions globally.  Hackers are able to gain access or control of mobile devices via malicious software (malware), while mobile applications (apps) on the device can perform unwanted, high-risk actions.  This jeopardizes the safety of sensitive data stored on the device, as it can be lost or stolen.  With the ubiquity of mobile devices and trends such as bring your own device (BYOD), industry and government regulations requiring businesses to control network access for all device types and applications adds to market growth.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan’s Analysis of the Global Mobile Endpoint Protection Market finds the market earned revenue of $433.5 million in 2012, and estimates this to reach $1.0 billion in 2017.  The research notes endpoint security specialists McAfee and Symantec lead the market. However, several competitors, including entrepreneurial start-ups, are making progress in this critically strategic market.

With hackers becoming more effective in targeting and exploiting emerging technologies such as smartphones, cloud computing, and virtualization, enterprises are investing in mobile endpoint security software to protect and manage mobile devices.  The mobile security challenge requires a layered, defense-in-depth strategy that protects data at rest and in motion, provides protection for the actual device, and includes network-based controls for mobile traffic (including application traffic).

“Smartphones may fail to meet organizational security and compliance policy requirements as they are extremely susceptible to mobile malware breaches and unwanted or high risk mobile applications,” said Frost & Sullivan Network Security Senior Industry Analyst Chris Rodriguez. “The need to counter these new attack vectors presents a tremendous opportunity for developers of endpoint security software.”

However, the mobile endpoint solutions market faces competition from other mobile security products. For instance, mobile device management (MDM) capabilities are considered an essential first step in addressing mobile security needs and a suitable replacement for mobile endpoint security solutions. Unfortunately, MDM does not address mobile malware and unwanted, high-risk mobile applications.  Businesses worldwide severely underestimate the risk presented by truly smart smartphones and tablets, and therefore delay uptake of comprehensive solutions.

“Mobile endpoint protection vendors should seek to acquire MDM companies to enable a robust enterprise endpoint security and device management portfolio,” suggested Rodriguez. “Leveraging new technologies such as cloud-based malware analysis, application wrapping, and containerization to deliver innovative solutions will further widen the global customer base.”

While end users from the business segment are opting for established security vendors such as McAfee and Symantec that offer essential enterprise central management and reporting capabilities, emerging start-ups are gaining traction in the strategically important consumer market with inventive, free or low-priced solutions.

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