The rapid "consumerisation" of IT is slowly blurring the lines between the personal and the enterprise, subsequently posing new threats to network security and giving new headaches to IT executives who still have to grapple with budget issues, network and security vendor Juniper Networks remarked recently.
Such consumerisation is also underscoring the wealth of mobile devices being used in the enterprise, giving birth to the "new network," which is more focused on mobile, the company added.
"Many devices are being issued by companies [to employees] for productivity," noted Eu Ween Kang, enterprise marketing director for APAC, Juniper Networks. "Today, you no longer need to be in the office [in order to stay] productive."
Productivity is good, but the amount of access endpoints the devices create can potentially be a headache for most IT departments. Kang added that at least 13% of devices used in the enterprise are employer-provided, while 18% are personal devices. "[Hence the] blurring of lines: devices [issued by employers] are being used for personal purposes as well," Kang said.
This scenario gives birth to networks that are no longer self-contained, making it difficult for IT to manage. "It strains the network, it strains support, and you don't know how protected these devices are, so it increases the risk," he pointed out.
That malwares are finding themselves nested on smartphones' operating systems is no coincidence in this confluence of events that lead to the "new network." "Malware history has proven that malwares evolve, change, and become more sophisticated, and waiting and reacting only can be costly. Firms must be proactive," Kang suggested.
The new network also requires the ability to secure and sustain upcoming technologies, such as the cloud, which is widely being accessed through mobile devices. "People want to consumer content, but it's important not only to secure the cloud, but to protect the data on the devices as well," Kang added.
On this end, Juniper Networks has released recently a three-pronged attack to combat mobile threats, composed of: a robust architecture consisting of a single platform to administer all mobile devices; a platform-based, cross-OS application that extends Junos, its network operating system, to devices; and ecosystem extensibility.
On the application side, Juniper Networks introduced Junos Pulse, a mobile security suite borne out of its recent acquisition of SMobile, a mobile security firm.
The acquisition has allowed them to offer a whole suite of mobile protection tools for most smartphones today, including solutions for the Symbian, Android, and Blackberry platform. The iOS application is on its way, Kang said.
The suite contains basic security tools such as an antivirus, a personal firewall, an anti-spam filter, and a device monitoring and control module. Additionally, it has a loss or theft protection feature for data loss prevention in cases of stolen or missing devices, which can track the device and wipe data remotely.