'Gaining visibility of mobile devices has never been more important - security vendor Lookout

Tom Wright
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'Gaining visibility of mobile devices has never been more important - security vendor Lookout

Lookout says mobile protection needs to be integrated into a wider security strategy

Businesses are struggling to gain visibility of the increasing number of mobile devices connected to their network, according to cybersecurity provider Lookout.

The vendor said that bring-your-own-device (BYOD) is putting an ever-growing strain on IT teams trying to protect an organisation, and has traditionally been a neglected area of a business' security make-up.

Burak Agca, sales engineer at Lookout, said: "The biggest challenge would certainly be from a visibility perspective.

"Organisations are really challenged in getting visibility across a range of threat vectors that are present on mobile, and where organisations have done a thorough job around their desktop platforms, from our conversations with partners we are finding consistently that there are gaps in security when it comes to provisioning corporately owned devices. Even further challenges come in being able to deliver on BYOD strategies within the enterprise.

"Ninety per cent of enterprises are doing something with mobile devices, but only 30 per cent are putting in measures around security (according to Gartner), so that presents a huge opportunity for the reseller channel."

Agca said there are four main areas of concern when it comes to threats via mobile devices: vulnerabilities in the device's own software and operating system; vulnerabilities or malicious content in the apps installed on the device; network-based attacks, as users join networks and hotspots; and phishing attacks.

He added that mobile protection has typically not been included as part of a company's wider security strategy, which needs to change.

"It is certainly something that's been overlooked, that organisations have handed over trust of the security model entirely to the big vendors, and it is clear that mobile device management (MDM) has been sold in a lot of instances as a security solution, whereas actually it is inventory management and an out-of-the-box compliance tool set," he said.

"MDM was not designed to deal with external threats against iOS and Android devices. It has taken time to educate the market, and I would suggest that this year we will see customers actively implementing mobile threat defence solutions into their environment to fill the gaps MDM does not cover."

Lookout started out as a vendor of premium consumer mobile security products, but evolved to provide an enterprise offering around five years ago - which it sells via a channel-only model. Its UK distributors are Tech Data and Cloud Distribution.

Adam Davison, sales and marketing director at Cloud, said that both specialist mobile partners and general cybersecurity partners need to take mobile protection solutions to customers.

"Different partners need to promote it in a different ways," he said.

"For MDM partners, this is a great opportunity to differentiate themselves from other partners that they are bidding against for customers, but also to be seen as a trusted adviser.

"Then there are other partners that are involved in Office 365; This is a great way to add value and sell on top of the Office 365 items, so they can add Lookout on top.

"Finally, any traditional security partners that are involved in selling antivirus or next-gen platforms should be having conversations with customers about the impact of not having mobile security on devices."

Global spend on cybersecurity products and services totalled $100bn in 2018, according to Gartner. But the market analyst claims that just 10 per cent of this was spent on mobile protection. This is despite predictions that 90 per cent of enterprises expecting to have operations that need a mobile device by the end of this year.

Lookout claims that its platform protects devices while not using more than three-to-five per cent of its battery life.

Agca told CRN that the vendor is mobile threat detection partner of vendors including Microsoft, VMware and BlackBerry, and also integrates with the likes of Mobile Iron, Mass360 and Citrix XenMobile.

He added that protecting a user's privacy is of paramount importance to Lookout.

"Having a 10-year history in the consumer space means that we know how to deliver a security product for mobile," he said.

"We are privacy by design, which is critical today if you're going to get the end user to adopt a product in this space. And we have ensured that from the ground up we provide the privacy controls and infrastructure to meet even the most stringent compliance requirements."

Dave Rawle, joint MD at Lookout partner Bytes Security Partnership, said that while other vendors offer mobile security, he prefers to have best-of-breed products in his portfolio.

"The big vendors all have products that do lots of things, but it's nice to have a pure-play vendor because there are still customers that want them," he said.

"A lot of them are consolidating, but where a customer wants the genuine best, Lookout is where I would go for it.

"Customers have not always been willing to pay extra for mobile security products but we are starting to see that happen now."

This article has been published in partnership with Lookout.

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