Unisys: Consumerisation of IT to drive mobile security investments

Companies to invest in biometrics, predicts vendor

Increasing levels of cyber crime, compliance requirements, and an explosion in usage of consumer devices and applications in the workplace will drive investments in security offerings in 2011, according to a Unisys report.

The report predicts that next year will see increased investments in biometrics-based protection of mobile devices, token-based encryption for sensitive transactions, port worker identification systems, business continuity planning, and geographic-based security access systems.

Unisys chief information and security officer, Patricia Titus, said the consumerisation of IT presents a “double-edged sword" for businesses.

“On one hand, ready access to popular devices and technologies gives consumers and employees a level of convenience and productivity they’ve never had before," she said. "On the other hand, security officers and professionals now must figure out how to address the new security challenges that arise as hundreds or thousands of these new devices and their associated applications are introduced into the enterprise infrastructure."

Titus said there will be an increased focus on consumer device security policy.

“The consumerisation of IT trend has created vulnerabilitys in organisations’ network perimeters. A recent Unisys-sponsored study revealed that tech-savvy information workers are blurring the lines between work and home in their use of consumer devices, and that employers don’t seem to have an accurate understanding of what technologies their employees are using in the workplace.”

To deal with this threat, Unisys expects organisations to reassess and extend their security policies beyond the physical edges of the enterprise network to secure employees’ use of mobile devices in the coming year. The policy changes are expected to focus on authenticating the identities of device users and encrypting enterprise data as it traverses the network.

The report also found that 2011 will see increased usage of biometrics to help secure usage of mobile devices.

“We expect biometrics such as facial image or voice verification to be increasingly used next year to verify the identities of mobile device users, in addition to the more traditional user ID or password," Titus said. "Unisys expects the use of encryption to increase to authenticate mobile device transactions such as high-value internet purchases. Examples around the world include smart cards to combat payment fraud and facial image or voice recognition verification through cell phones."

The report also found that companies will begin to exploit location-based technologies such as global positioning systems as a means of securing employee access to sensitive enterprise data.

“Through use of these advanced technologies, IT managers can monitor in real-time the locations of employees and limit or disable their ability to access sensitive information or conduct sensitive transactions in high-risk areas such as public spaces," she said. "Use of such advanced location-based solutions can also allow organizations to better track staff deployed overseas and to account for their location in the event of a security incident."

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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