Posted: 4 Min ReadExpert Perspectives

Keys to Crafting a Winning Mobile Security: Customers Weigh In

Symantec customers share their stories from the trenches, recounting what works and what doesn’t

Experience is a valuable teacher, especially when you’re able to learn lessons from others who have taken similar journeys. That’s why we recently polled some of our most successful mobile security customers. They had valuable stories to share about the process they underwent evaluating and implementing mobile security solutions.

We wanted to know the backstory: Why did they embark on these projects? What did they learn? What advice would they offer to someone currently evaluating a similar project?

The questions were open-ended in order to let the customers respond freely and in as much detail as they wanted – the goal was to provide the most insight for readers. Let’s go through the findings of each question one by one. We hope you profit from this trove of information.

Why is it Important to Secure Mobile Devices Today?

We thought this would be a good starting point to gauge their original motivations. We found a good amount of overlap in the answers, which indicated that there are some things anyone considering a mobile security journey should keep top-of-mind.

The most common answer, with 63% of customers mentioning it in some form, was that mobile devices today store a lot of very sensitive information - corporate email, corporate files, personal information, customer data, and so on. All of this is crucial for enterprises to protect, and not just because it makes for good business, but also because of new laws going into effect, such as Europe’s GDPR which goes into effect this month. Another common theme, which ties into all this crucial data that everyone has stored on their phones, is that mobile devices are now ubiquitous. They are an essential part of everyone’s day-to-day routine, both at work and at home.

The third most common response involved the range of threats now facing mobile devices. Specific threats that got a call out included insecure Wi-Fi, loss of a device, having to remote wipe, secure communications, malware, OS and device vulnerabilities, and man-in-the-middle attacks. All of these threat opportunities, when combined with the importance of the data being stored and the ubiquity of mobile devices in our lives now, made mobile devices an extremely attractive target for attackers (which was our fourth most common response).

Advice to Someone Starting a Mobile Security Journey

Where should they start? What are the important things they should consider? We received a fascinating range of answers. But overwhelmingly, the most common themes centered around staying focused on your goals while also keeping the end-user perspective top-of-mind.

In terms of staying focused and overall goals, a lot of customers said it was most important to understand what you’re trying to protect and why. While it’s easy to get lost in the weeds and try to protect everything, they said that approach usually backfires by leaving mobile security coverage spread too thinly. That leaves holes in your defenses. Instead, they lined up around protecting what’s most important to you, your company, and your end-users.

Building protection around what’s important pays off in other ways. They said end-users will want to use the devices because you listened to their needs and worked to protect what they care about. In general, customers stressed that you have to understand your overall mobile security goals before beginning any projects. If you start a mobile security project without a clear vision, don’t be surprised if it leads to holes in your solution - and that benefits no one, other than the attackers.

Our customers made clear how important it is to be sensitive to the end-user experience and productivity throughout the entire process – starting with discovery and right through to final implementation. Ultimately, if you protect things users don’t care about, then they also won’t care about your mobile security solution. If you deploy something that slows their phone down or drains their battery, they won’t use the product. If you don’t make things easy to use, they will find ways to circumvent the restraints. If you don’t keep them informed and educated, they will lose interest. These were all lessons our customers mentioned, resulting in almost half (42%) of our customers emphasizing the importance of building something around what end-users want, need, and will use.

Most Important Requirements of a Mobile Security Solution

In our third and final question, we asked our customers to list their three most important requirements for a mobile security solution. From a requirements perspective, we had dozens of unique answers, a testament to how much a complete mobile security solution today should be able to do. There were a number of standouts, however, that had widespread mention. That means they should likely be on your list of capabilities to look for.

First, mentioned by over 70% of the customers, was that any mobile security solution had to meet the specific needs of the company and had to be reliable. Completeness was the theme here, citing a vast array of threats that need to be stopped, management options that need to be available, and a holistic approach that is flexible but impenetrable so that IT has 24/7 peace of mind.

Second, user experience and usability were key again, with almost half the customers citing this as crucial to user adoption and overall project success. Third, with just under 40%, were the tasks that were crucial for IT to be able to perform, things like easy deployment and EMM/MDM integrations, but also post-deployment tasks like auditing, reporting, monitoring, etc. All of these give IT the insights they need to make sure everyone is protected, but they needed it presented in a way that was not overwhelming or burdensome.

The Bottom Line

What our survey ultimately shows is that mobile security is definitely top of mind for enterprises. The ubiquity of mobile devices in our lives means they - and the data they store - are valuable to us and thus an extremely attractive target to attackers. That’s why they need protection. Our customers are clearly saying that anyone navigating a mobile security project needs to always be thinking about two things: their goals and their users. These are the keys to success. And once you’ve got those two priorities understood, and it’s time to evaluate solutions, make sure you find a solution that is complete and reliable, something that can stop all the threats and always keep IT ahead of the hackers.

About the Author

Brian Duckering

Sr. Manager, Product Marketing

Brian has been a thought leader in enterprise IT for over 20 years, with experience in engineering, marketing, strategy and evangelism. He has spent the last seven years focused on enterprise mobility, with a focus on achieving both productivity and security.

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