Mobile phones the focal point of cybersecurity for 90% of CISOs

Thursday, 17 June, 2021

Mobile phones the focal point of cybersecurity for 90% of CISOs

The emergence of the Everywhere Workplace has shifted CISO priorities away from combating network security threats and towards mitigating mobile security risks, revealed the findings of an Australian survey conducted by Ivanti. The study, which polled 90 CISOs across Australia, found that 88% of CISOs agree that remote work has accelerated the demise of the traditional network perimeter, and has subsequently given rise to a host of new IT security challenges. The study also revealed that 90% of CISOs believe that mobile devices have become the focal point of their cybersecurity strategies.

Matthew Lowe, Area Vice President (ANZ) of Ivanti, noted that as remote work becomes standard practice across many ANZ industries, CISOs must ensure that working from anywhere and on any device is just as safe as doing so from the office, on a corporate-owned laptop.

“IT infrastructures are dispersed, and employees need access to corporate data anywhere, at any time. The rise of the Everywhere Workplace has dramatically changed the role of the CISO, with a firm focus now placed on enabling, securing and optimising mobile work environments,” said Lowe.

The main challenges that CISOs currently face involve ensuring only trusted users, devices, networks and apps can access company data. Approximately 58% of survey respondents cited employees leveraging unsecured Wi-Fi to access business resources as a top IT security challenge during the pandemic, while 46% cited mobile phishing attacks as a top IT security challenge. Additionally, 44% of CISOs cited employees using their own devices to access corporate data as a top IT security challenge.

To address these challenges, 83% of respondents expect their IT security budgets to increase over the next 12 months; based on Ivanti research, the average IT security budget for an Australian CISO in 2020 was over $6 million. When asked about the specific software solutions CISOs plan to invest in during the next year, unified endpoint management (UEM) and biometric authentication solutions come out on top. Despite CISOs indicating that 49% of their overall security budget was spent on UEM software in the last year, 86% said they expect investment to increase over the next year in specialised UEM software. This increase is primarily to manage and secure the influx of devices accessing corporate resources as employees work from anywhere.

The survey found that 78% of CISOs expect that their organisations’ reliance on biometric authentication to enable remote access to business data would increase, and 79% said investments into specialised biometric authentication solutions will increase — this focus on biometric authentication is likely due to the growth in phishing attacks. While 64% of CISOs plan to invest in mobile threat detection software, others noted that enhancing user experiences (58%), improving authentication to remote applications (57%) and moving critical business applications to the cloud (52%) will be top priorities this year.

“Urgently adopting a zero-trust security strategy to ensure only trusted users can access corporate data should be mission critical. Assuming networks have already been compromised, leveraging automation technologies that proactively detect threats and self-heal and self-secure devices, and eliminating passwords in favour of biometric authentication measures, are all ways CISOs can better provide a seamless yet secure experience for their everywhere workforce,” said Lowe.

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