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Nearly 40% Of Organizations With Mobile Devices Say They Need More Security For Them

New IBM report highlights shift in endpoint security within the enterprise
A new IBM report found that more than 70 percent of organizations are allowing nontraditional endpoint devices -- think smartphones, iPads, and point-of-sale devices -- to connect to their corporate networks, but some 36 percent say these devices aren't properly secured.

Marc van Zadelhoff, director of strategy for IBM security solutions, says the survey it commissioned Zogby International to conduct of around 300 IT decision-makers on their companies' endpoint security initiatives demonstrates how IT just can't say "no" anymore to traditionally consumer devices in the workplace. "It's BYOT -- bring your own technology," van Zadelhoff says. "A lot of times what's driving this is they can't say 'no' because the first person who brings them to work is one of the senior executives: They got an iPad for Christmas and want it connected. A security professional can't say 'no' to an [executive]."

So now organizations are scrambling to secure the devices, he says.

IBM found that 90 percent of the respondents are actively investing in endpoint security, and 80 percent say their organizations plans to add new endpoints to the network this year. Around 72 percent say PCs and laptops are the biggest threats when it comes to endpoints in the organization, but they say smartphones and tablet computers are a growing threat.

Meanwhile, some 33 percent say their biggest security worry is that they don't have visibility into all of their endpoints.

With this proliferation of nontraditional devices, IBM pointed to estimates of 1 trillion connected devices by 2015. "The blurring of personal life and work life is occurring," van Zadelhoff says.

Van Zadelhoff says the mobile endpoint explosion has benefited from the PC's security problems. "We've seen this movie before, so people are more prepared. We are starting to see serious solutions," he says. "The next cycle will be smart meters, PoS, scanners, and hospital equipment."

IBM's survey found that 40 percent of the respondents plan to invest more in security to manage and protect those nontraditional endpoint devices. And while the initial security woes will be lost or stolen devices reminiscent of the laptop, exploits won't be far behind.

Meanwhile, IBM and Trend Micro announced a smartphone partnership where Trend will integrate Trend's cloud-based anti-malware solution with IBM's new Tivoli Endpoint Management platform. This will give organizations visibility, security, and management of these mobile devices.

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