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Many European CISOs Shift Focus to Mobile Security: Survey

A majority of chief information security officers (CISOs) in Europe said their cybersecurity strategy now focuses on mobile devices as a result of employees increasingly working remotely due to the pandemic, IT management and cybersecurity solutions provider Ivanti said in a report published this week.

The information comes from a survey of 400 CISOs conducted in November and December 2020. The respondents worked for large enterprises in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Benelux countries.

According to Ivanti’s report, which aims to promote the adoption of zero trust security strategies, 87% of CISOs said the focal point of their strategy is now mobile devices.

The biggest IT security challenges cited by respondents — during the pandemic — were the use of insecure Wi-Fi connections to access corporate assets (45%), employees using their own devices for work (40%), the use of unauthorized apps (33%), the use of public clouds to access business resources (33%), and mobile phishing attacks (32%).

“Unfortunately, hackers are taking advantage of security gaps in the everywhere enterprise by increasingly targeting mobile devices and applications with sophisticated phishing attacks,” Ivanti said in its report. “And these mobile phishing attacks are likely to succeed, as it is very hard to verify the authenticity of links on a mobile device. The mobile user interface also makes it difficult to access and view key information, while prompting users to make fast decisions.”

While 93% of respondents said they already had solutions in place to enable remote work when he pandemic started, a vast majority also admitted that more security measures are needed. Nearly two-thirds said they plan on investing in mobile threat detection software, and 57% said they were enhancing authentication to remote applications.

The survey shows that CISOs in Europe had, on average in 2020, a total IT security budget of roughly €65 million ($78 million), with much of it (41%) spent on unified endpoint management (UEM) solutions. However, a majority expect their budgets to increase in 2021 and they plan on increasing investment in specialized UEM solutions.

Eighty percent of respondents also believe that passwords are no longer effective for protecting enterprise data, and 70% of CISOs said they plan on investing more in biometric authentication tech.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.