Mobile device security overview with client-based applications

Using client-based endpoint security is one way to protect mobile devices from malware. Protecting your business and network data starts with protecting its connected devices. In this solution, the actual client software application protects the device from viruses, malware, spam, and other threats.
The program is usually designed to run in the background, periodically checking the device for threats, and exploring (analyzing) the incoming data on the device for viruses and malware. These programs usually alert the user when a threat is detected, and isolate or delete the source of the threat automatically as well. Symantec, Trend Micro, F-Secure, McAfee and Juniper offer mobile security solutions based on client software.
Software applications are usually deployed on mobile devices in the following two ways:
1. It is downloaded via the App Store by the users themselves or published via a mobile device management system by the IT department.
2. It is automatically deployed over the air (OTA) from a server to which the device is connected. This approach usually occurs without user interaction. Virus signatures in a central system are usually updated periodically. Then the devices either download the signatures at regular intervals or they are pushed to the devices periodically.
With client-based software, there are a few key things to watch out for while shopping for a suitable mobile endpoint security solution:

  • Determine which device resources the program is using. You definitely don’t want to deploy client software that drags device performance down. So look for the following traits as you narrow down your options:

Client Size: Needless to say, the smaller the client size, the better.
CPU usage: The program should run as unobtrusively as possible, minimizing any impact on user activity on the device. If running the app slows down the entire device, then the app is clearly consuming a lot of system resources to run.
Memory usage: The program should consume as little memory as possible. Again, like the impact on CPU usage, when an app consumes a large amount of memory, it drags down the overall performance of the device.

  • Avoid programs being ported to the Windows mobile platform. Beware of software options that are essentially desktop endpoint software ported to mobile platforms. Transfer in the world of software development refers to the process of customizing software for a different platform than the software was initially designed for.

Many vendors offer endpoint security software for Windows platforms. When you shop for mobile endpoint security software, make sure that mobile endpoint software has been built from the ground up for every mobile platform.
Check the options that allow simple deployment of the software to mobile devices. You don’t want your IT department to have to manually roll out the software on every mobile device that employees use. A simple publishing mechanism like OTA or availability in the App Store would likely be desirable.