The tremendous popularity of mobile devices and their subsequent appearance in the workplace means organizations have to worry about data-stealing malware as well as the danger of lost and stolen devices.
The increased risk to personal and corporate data is an opportunity for the mobile-security industry, and the global market for mobile security is expected to reach $14.4 billion by 2017, market research firm Global Industry Analysts said in an Aug. 24 report. Issues such as data breaches, unauthorized access to and loss of personal information stored within the mobile phone, malware and malicious applications all highlight the need for comprehensive mobile security.
The report, "Mobile Security: A Global Strategic Business Report," reviewed trends for all major geographic markets, including the United States, Canada, Japan, Europe, the Asia-Pacific, Latin America and others. Analysts also examined trends in mobile-security client software and in mobile-network-security appliances and software, which includes integrated security appliances, content security gateways and intrusion-detection/-prevention systems.
"Security issues have taken on extreme importance in recent years," Global Industry Analysts said in the report.
The "evolution" of smart mobile computer devices such as laptops, personal digital assistants, smartphones and tablet PCs into tools commonly used for both business and personal use presents a "tremendous opportunity" for the global mobile-security market, the firm said.
Mobile-application development is a relatively new field, and technologies for securing mobile-application code are immature, analyst Chenxi Wang wrote in a recent Forrester Research report. Vulnerabilities in mobile code, flawed application architecture or improper handling of credentials can lead to embarrassing data breaches, network intrusions or hacker attacks, Wang said.
Mobile-security client software is currently the fastest-growing market as security vendors roll out mobile antivirus, Web-filtering and other applications for smartphones and tablets. Global Industry Analysts estimated that the market would grow by more than 53 percent between 2008 and 2017.
Mobile devices have been transformed into "a multi-faceted multi-tasking, multimedia device," delivering tools for personal expression, enterprise computing and entertainment, the firm said. Mobile devices are now used for video conferencing, storing documents and media, sending and receiving email messages, online banking and shopping and other entertainment purposes.
While the productivity benefits are "undeniable," the new capabilities and features "open up new apertures for risks," according to Global Industry Analysts. The threat of malicious applications compromising the mobile device and accessing key information stored within poses significant risks to the organization and is "a perfect business case for mobile security."
The biggest gains in mobile security will be in the Asia-Pacific region, driven primarily by "robust demand" for mobile devices in emerging countries, such as China and India, according to Global Industry Analysts.
Mobile networks are also experiencing "exploding data traffic" as a direct result of the "exponential rise" in the number of Internet-connected mobile devices, the company said. Customer demand has also forced mobile-network operators to stop restricting users to a set of default services provided by the carrier and instead give them access to all services and content on the World Wide Web. Mobile operators have to balance the seamless integration of proprietary networks and the entire Internet with security and privacy concerns that inevitably would arise, according to the analysts.
"Mobile-network providers will therefore come under increased pressure to invest in mobile-security appliances and software to protect both their networks as well as network users," the analysts wrote.