Sophos: Minimise BYOD threats through mobile content management



WHEN adopting a BYOD (bring your own device) corporate culture, it’s crucial for organisations to clearly define where the lines are drawn between personal and professional usage of devices.

“It has to be balance between security and how much access you give to people,” says Sumit Bansal, sales director for Asean and Korea at Sophos.

He adds that a certain degree of flexibility needed to be offered to employees since their phones also contained their personal data. Furthermore, only corporate content ought to be wiped out in the event that a device were to get compromised.

“A lot of smaller companies have been hesitant to allow BYOD because they didn’t have the confidence that they could manage the content and security of their corporate data,” Sumit says.

However, he feels this should no longer be the case, with solutions such as Sophos Mobile Control, a mobile device management (MDM) solution which is aimed at customers who desire simple to use IT administration tools but with full security features.

Nifty tool for SMEs

Sumit says Sophos is targeting this solution at what it terms the “mid market” segment: Organisations operating with a workforce anywhere between 100 to 5,000 employees.

He shares that Sophos Mobile Control offers administrators a wide range of control options, adding that it can customised to be as granular as they would like it to be.

For instance, setting policies which only allowed employees to visit certain types of websites during the hours of 9am to 5pm when they should be working. For highly sensitive work situation, usage of a phone’s camera could also be disabled.

“It’s really about how much control or policies you want to put on,” Sumit says.
Sophos Mobile Control provides its customers with a self service portal where employees can easily set up the app on their devices.

“You can go in and register your device and can start getting corporate data right away,” he says. “This is such a timesaver and reduces the cost of managing employees’ devices for (smaller) organisations. People are constantly changing phones, so instead of waiting for (IT) admin, they can  do it themselves,” explains Sumit.

“As an administrator, you don’t need to constantly think about updating users’ devices, they are automatically updated through the console.”

Companies can purchase Sophos Mobile Control for US$47 (RM150) per license or US$31.50 (RM100) per user for subscription of 100 licenses.

Besides this, the company has also recently launched Sophos Cloud, an enterprise solution that enables IT administrators to manage and maintain end-point security through a management console hosted in the cloud.

Growing threat

Sumit shares that at present, Sophos has been seeing as many as 250,000 threats daily on desktop PCs and 1,000 threats on the Android platform. In addition, it has been detecting 30,000 malicious URLS every two seconds.

“Around 80% of malicious links are actually legitimate sites that have been hacked,” he says.

Moreover, according to Sophos’ recently released Security Threat Report 2013, Malaysia is the sixth riskiest country in the world in terms of its exposure to online threats.


The report said that Malaysia had chalked up a threat exposure rate of 15.88%. The percentage depicted the ratio of PCs within the country which had experienced a malware attack over a three month period, regardless whether those attacks had been successful or otherwise.

Hong Kong was ranked the riskiest country with a threat exposure of 23.54%, followed by Taiwan (21.26%), the United Arab Emirates (20.78%), Mexico (19.81%) and India (17.44%).

Other Southeast Asian nations that also appeared in the top 10 rankings were Philippines (15.66%), Thailand (13.67%) and Indonesia (11.47%).

Stay safe
Sumit advises all mobile device owners to have a security app installed on their phone to protect them from falling victim to cyber intrusions while using their devices .

“If your device gets compromised, you won’t know what information may get stolen,” he forewarns.

Sophos offers several mobile security apps which can be downloaded for free by the public.


This includes the Sophos Mobile Security app which is targeted at Android devices and Sophos Mobile Encryption, which is available on both on iTunes and Google Play Store

For more security tips from Sophos, visit http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/.
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