Mobile devices provide SMBs with substantial benefits in terms of lower overhead costs, ease of extending the corporate network, and allowing employees greater flexibility in when and where they work. However, as indicated by newly released results of a study from mobile security provider Mobilisafe, mobile devices also expose SMBs to some severe risks.

The study, which examined more than 134 mobile operating system and application vulnerabilities, found that 71 percent of devices analyzed contained high severity operating system and application vulnerabilities. In addition, a new high severity vulnerability was mapped on average to mobile devices every 1.6 days, which is four times faster than recorded in 2011. Thirty-eight different mobile operating systems contained security vulnerabilities classified as high severity by Mobilisafe.

SMBs Especially Vulnerable to Mobile Risks

Initial results from this study released in February 2012 indicated that SMBs are generally unprepared to properly manage mobile device security. The latest results reinforce this finding. The study shows most SMB IT managers cannot keep up with the rate of discovery of severe vulnerabilities mobile devices bring to their corporate network. Furthermore, most SMB IT departments lack a standardized approach to mitigate the risks from different types of mobile devices, as they do with laptops, desktops and servers, and even though they feel exposed to mobile device security risk, SMBs generally do not feel they have adequate tools to assess and mitigate these risks at a granular level.

The MSP Mobile Risk Solution

The study suggests that there would be a four fold drop in the percentage of devices with severe vulnerabilities if the devices were updated to the latest available firmware, and 70 percent of devices with severe vulnerabilities can have their risks remediated by applying firmware updates. While automated firmware update recommendations, which Mobilisafe’s product happens to provide, are surely a valuable tool for SMBs trying to combat mobile security risks, MSPs are also in a unique position to help remediate the problem.

In addition to providing SMBs with managed firmware services, MSPs can also provide them with managed services that detect, block and remove viruses from both mobile devices and the corporate network, effectively track and manage remote access to corporate networks, monitor employee usage of remote mobile devices, and generally maintain safe usage of remote mobile devise on a corporate network.

Even many large enterprises have trouble keeping up with the rapid pace of mobilization in modern business, and many SMBs simply cannot keep up on their own. MSPs can allow SMBs to stay current with mobilization trends while avoiding the associated risks.