Virtualisation set to boost mobile security

The technology can help tackle the problem of data loss from corporate mobile devices, but the tools won't exist until 2012, says Gartner

Virtualisation will be a key technology to help companies beef up security on corporate mobile devices, says Gartner.

The technology is predicted to be used to break the ties between a mobile device's hardware and software — so standardised software can be downloaded on any handset or laptop. This will allow companies to keep a tight security rein on the increasing number of different types of mobile gadgets by making sure every corporate device adheres to the same consistent security rules, according to the analyst.

But the bad news is such virtualisation tools for mobile devices will not be around until 2012 — so businesses need to start bringing in policies in the short term, said Gartner.

Speaking at the Gartner IT Security Summit, Monica Basso, research director at Gartner, said more personal devices are being brought into the business space and this diversity — and the lack of security on such devices — is putting companies at risk.

Basso said: "Technology over the next five years will allow convergence of [mobile] devices and tools, and virtualisation is one of the many enablers to allow this convergence."

The consumerisation of mobile devices "is adding a lot of complexity to IT organisations because there is no one device which will fit the whole user community", said Basso.

She said, until the advent of virtualisation tools for mobiles, companies should implement a set of policies to make sure there is a unified approach and clear responsibility for mobile devices in the workplace. And, as a compromise, managers should give staff a choice between a few different mobile gadgets and packages, Basso added.

Technology chiefs are worried that sensitive corporate data is leaking out of businesses through lost or misused mobile gadgets, with nine out of 10 chief information officers not tracking all the information kept on such devices, according to a recent survey of 200 chief information officers of companies in Europe, the UK and the US by mobile-device management company Mformation.

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