More firms securing mobiles with software

update Nearly 78 million handsets will be protected by security tools by 2014, representing 18.6 percent of corporate devices, according to new report.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

update The number of protected corporate mobile devices will more than triple over the next four years, jumping from 5.6 percent in 2008 to 18.6 percent in 2014, a new study has found.

In a statement Tuesday, Juniper Research said the number of handsets installed with third-party security software will reach 77.7 million in four years. The findings were newly extracted from a report it released at the end of last year.

The growth will take place despite the lack of an anticipated flood of malware targeting mobile platforms, the research analyst noted.

"Improvements to the underlying security of the mobile operating system, shorter replacement cycles and concerted efforts by the mobile industry to avoid the problems seen in the PC world, have so far kept the malware threat to the mobile device at bay," Anthony Cox, senior analyst at Juniper Research, said in the statement.

The report attributed the uptake of mobile security tools to the increasing value of information held on mobile devices. The research firm added that mobile security adoption is highest in Europe, followed by the United States, China and Southeast Asia.

Data protection legislation in Western markets was a significant driver for enterprise mobile device protection, according to Juniper Research. In a whitepaper, it cited a law in Massachusetts that mandates any enterprise conducting business with those within the U.S. state must use encryption to protect confidential information stored on handhelds and laptops, or transmitted wirelessly on public networks.

A study released last year by Symantec found that about one in five respondents in Asia did not have mobile antivirus software on their corporate handsets.

Juniper Research estimates that overall corporate IT security revenues will reach US$16.4 billion globally by 2014. Encryption is set to grow 26 percent to US$4.3 billion in the same period.

F-Secure's regional director for Southeast Asia, James Tan, concurred with Juniper Research's findings. In response to e-mail queries from ZDNet Asia, Tan noted that the company's mobile security offering, which enables users to lock down their devices, wipe them clean as well as back up data on the mobile phones, has been generating "much" interest from consumers and operators.

"Certainly in recent times, more and more mobile operators in this region have been approaching F-Secure to explore mobile security solutions as a service offering to subscribers, and also to seek out solutions to overcome network issues [experienced] as a result of 'corrupt' traffic," he said. "From a competitive perspective, we are also experiencing more and more mobile protection offerings entering the market from both established and new applications vendors."

Editorial standards