More and more machines are connecting to organizations' corporate IT environments. Those devices and applications are increasing in number. They're also diversifying in type. As a result, organizations need to uniquely identify and authenticate each mobile device connecting to their networks, as well as the various applications on these devices.
Such growth presents enterprises with both opportunities and challenges. On the one hand, companies can leverage these machines to bolster their flexibility and agility in an increasingly digital world. On the other hand, as each device and application requires its own machine identity to operate securely within the enterprise, IT teams must inventory and monitor a larger array of machines in order to defend the corporate environment against digital security threats. If left unprotected, attackers can leverage a weak or vulnerable mobile machine identity to gain access to critical enterprise network services and assets and use them as part of a broader attack strategy.
Mobile is a good example of how machines' evolution can serve as an obstacle to organizations.
Portable physical devices such as smartphones and tablets have been in circulation for years now. Even so, the number and variety of these devices continues to rise. Indeed, The Radicati Group, Inc. estimates that the total number of mobile machines will increase from 11.062 million in 2016 to over 16 million in 2020. Smartphones and tablets will help fuel this growth as will comparatively newer devices such as phablets and updated laptop versions.
Mobile's proliferation means that greater amounts of data will flow through these devices and applications. This is evidenced by the surge in mobile traffic predicted for the next few years. Cisco's Visual Networking Index anticipates that mobile traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 47 percent between 2016 and 2021. By the latter date, a fifth of all IP traffic will consist of mobile, with its global monthly data interchange reaching 49.0 exabytes.
Such traffic flows will no doubt result in mobile devices storing and handling more sensitive personal and corporate data. Organizations will need to secure machine-to-machine exchanges of this information on devices that are constantly moving into and out of the corporate network. Those devices might not even belong to the organization; they might be employee-owned machines.
Organizations need to be able to uniquely identify and authenticate every mobile device in its quest to secure information exchanges among mobile devices, enterprise networks, and the Internet. However, as the number and variety of mobile machines continues to grow, companies will encounter more difficulty in meeting this objective on their own. They will need the help of an automated solution that can help them achieve complete visibility over all their mobile devices and then monitor those machines for vulnerabilities and misuse.