Five key mobile security strategy components

By Jonathan Crowl

Mobile banking tools are very popular among consumers; mobile security concerns are also common. Those fears aren’t unfounded: Mobile security threats are on the rise for all financial security tools, and banks are under intense pressure to thwart these imminent threats. As such, the need for an effective mobile security strategy is greater than ever. A truly preventative front will feature a multi-faceted approach to this security.

Banks must also balance security against the user experience. As many customers value mobile banking because these tools are easy to use, it’s critical for banks to find effective solutions that aren’t so restrictive that they discourage the use of their mobile properties.

Here are five important components that banks can implement to protect sensitive consumer information without compromising the mobile experience:

Seamless cloud security

The cloud is at the center of any mobile banking product, and financial institutions should make sure there are no cracks in this coverage. An enterprise mobility management platform is a great first step toward a fully secure cloud, as it can support collaboration and data movement across mobile devices without exposing the data to an imminent security threat.

An EMM tool can handle a large volume of such operations, which is necessary for banks that are managing the information of tens of thousands of consumers. The best of these products will also guarantee productivity support so security measures won’t bog down efforts to deliver a responsive, efficient user experience.

Centralized mobile management

With a secure cloud in place, banks need a tool to effectively manage this platform. A centralized mobile management solution can do the trick, as it can quickly handle high-volume activity with a simple, clean interface. For example, a management tool can set compliance rules, manage security policies, exchange user information and manage mobile apps on various devices and platforms with limited effort required from the enterprise. In the event of a security breach, corporate data can be quickly wiped to prevent theft.

As Security Intelligence notes, this type of solution provides an added layer of security to an existing enterprise mobility management strategy, mitigating risks that can range from compromised individual devices to suspicious activity and large-scale breaches.

Binary protection

One of the most common ways to unravel the source code of a mobile app, which hackers can use to gain access to consumer information, is to reverse-engineer the code using simple and easily accessible online tools. Surprisingly, some financial apps still don’t have an answer to this dilemma as a whole, according to American Banker. The simple solution is binary protection, which blocks tools designed to reverse-engineer an app. By installing this security measure, financial institutions can easily block an otherwise serious security threat.

Secure, managed user authentication

Not all consumer information is created equal; some information requires more security than others. For example, the balance of an account really doesn’t give hackers much valuable information. However, account numbers and personally identifying information should be handled with the utmost security.

These security measures all come with varying degrees of tedium, and consumers don’t need to go through the authentication process every time they just want to check an account balance. Instead, banks should consider managing security measures based on the sensitivity of the data being accessed. Different levels of security should be established based on the area of the app a consumer is accessing. For everyday activities with little security risk, minimal provisions can be used, while confidential information can be tucked back behind more robust authentication steps. This process helps banks balance the user experience against their need to protect consumers at all times.

Malware blocking

Mobile malware is a growing problem on every device and platform. Enterprises should take two steps to guard against malware. First, they should install a financial malware blocking tool that can respond to the latest threats. Additionally, it’s crucial that banks also periodically update and educate their consumers. Emails, letters, messages delivered to a virtual bank inbox and other periodic reminders of safe mobile practices can stop malware before it tricks consumers.

Topics like mobile security strategy will be a major point of emphasis at IBM InterConnect 2016, where expert Jason Hardy will lead a breakout session titled, “Learn How First Data Mobile Banking Reduces Mobile Threats with IBM Trusteer Mobile.”