Consumers want mobile security but most won’t pay for it: Gartner

Employees may be demanding bring your own device (BYOD) support but their resistance to installing anti-malware and security tools on their own devices will create significant security-market growth opportunities in coming years, Gartner has predicted.

Citing a forecast that 30% of product selection criteria will be based on requirements to secure new mobile computing platforms by 2015, Gartner advised security vendors to consider low-priced security products targeted at specific audiences in line with their respective willingness to pay for mobile security.

For example, young people are more likely to use free security software than people over 50 who, Gartner warned, “tend to be more particular about security and are therefore more likely to purchase an antivirus package”.

Overall, consumers have a “much lower” propensity to pay for security than users of traditional desktops and laptops – which creates an inconsistent threat-protection profile when mobile devices are added to the mix. This is particularly challenging given that many consumers expect mobile carriers to take care of issues such as malware security.

While growing numbers of mobile devices will create a strong market opportunity for vendors of consumer security products, Gartner said those vendors will need to offset lost revenue through the delivery of free security tools with revenue from alternative models such as advertising, gaming software, or building third-party relationships around distribution of the free software.

Recognising these trends, vendors have been increasingly moving to integrate mobile devices – in particular, those based on the malware-prone Android environment – into their security strategies. Sophos, for one, recently updated its free Sophos Mobile Security Android security application with faster scanning and the inclusion of Web-based protection. Palo Alto Networks added scanning of Android APK files, which contain Android apps, to its WildFire security platform.

For its part, Bitdefender was beating its chest recently after its Bitdefender Mobile Security achieved perfect Android malware detection scores in testing by analysis firm AV-TEST.

“Mobile security is becoming increasingly important with the proliferation of both mobile devices and the malware that targets them for malware theft, SMS scams and other costly fraud,” chief security strategist Catalin Cosoi said in a statement, noting that the test results “prove that we can take a decade of experience…and translate that to the mobile arena.”

The challenge of increasing mobile security reaches a different level in the enterprise, where mobile-device security is an essential part of successfully and securely deploying BYOD policies. "The use of personal devices at work matches high-enterprise demand for solutions to the BYOD security problem," Gartner research director Ruggero Contu said in a statement.

"This presents providers of both consumer and enterprise endpoint security products with an opportunity to enforce security to private devices and potentially expand their footprint into the consumer space. Consequently, product managers at consumer security providers need to adopt strategies that allow consumer security use on personal devices in the enterprise workplace."

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