Enterprise Mobile Device Security Components: Antivirus - dummies

Enterprise Mobile Device Security Components: Antivirus

By Rich Campagna, Subbu Iyer, Ashwin Krishnan, Mark Bauhaus

Antivirus is an essential security component of mobile device security which is software actually running on the endpoint device. The technology has been available for decades, and many of your users would never consider operating a computer without some antivirus solution running on it. However, a majority of mobile devices – which are all derivatives of computers – go around without any sort of antivirus protection on them whatsoever!

You need to take a stand and ensure that you’re providing adequate mobile antivirus coverage to your users on their mobile (and desktop) devices. The breadth of antivirus solutions is ever-increasing. Just as with traditional antivirus solutions, you should be looking for upfront costs; per-seat license renewals; automatic signature updates; and more uniquely mobile features, such as battery life recognition, memory requirements, and broadest mobile operating system coverage.

One tried-and-true antivirus solution comes from the traditional client-server model. In this scenario, an antivirus agent is downloaded to the device, but a bulk of the intensive processing that antivirus demands is actually performed on the server (either locally hosted by you or by a hosted cloud service). The client collects information about the mobile device and delivers a certificate of authority.

In this model, there may also be a clone (or virtual device) of the actual enterprise device maintained by you in the enterprise (maybe in the form of a virtual machine), and the agent informs you of any changes to the end device, such as new applications installed, SMSs received, and so on, and then syncs with the virtual device in the enterprise.

Virtual device antivirus solution.
Virtual device antivirus solution.

This is not real-time protection of the device, but it’s reasonably close and has the advantages of not causing performance or battery drain issues. In addition, because the antivirus solution is hosted on a server, there’s a lot more horsepower than is available for antivirus checking on the device.