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Where Do Insurers Stand on Mobile Security Today?

Measures such as wiping only enterprise data from the phone of a terminated employee, limiting access and installing virus protection are only the start of what insurers must do to address the vulnerabilities of the emerging mobile channel.

Chad Hersh
Chad Hersh, Novarica
Insurers need to develop their mobile security strategies, as PwC's Chris Potter note earlier this week, and for which he offered suggestions. I asked Novarica partner Chad Hersh where insurers stand in implementing mobile security strategies.

His short answer was that they are not very far along. Mobile apps have been around for sometime now in the insurance industry, but the mobile opportunity extends well beyond what some consumers may consider gimmicky and game-like. Ultimately, mobile is simply another terminal point through which insurers must conduct an increasingly rich exchange of communication, data and transactions, Hersh suggests.

[For more on mobile security: Insurers Must Temper Mobile Euphoria with IT Security Realism.]

"The security requirements for mobile aren't necessarily novel, but rather are extensions of the security needs of the desktop, the Blackberry, the laptop, and the cell phone," he insists. "That being said, they need to be taken as seriously as those other platforms."

As the lines blur between phones and tablets -- for example the Galaxy Note -- and between tablets and PCs, such as the iPad and especially the upcoming Windows 8 tablets, device usage by employees, agents and customers will grow dramatically and mobile security will need to improve along with it, according to Hersh.

When it comes to personal data, most consumers are perfectly happy to use the iCloud or Google to back up their important data and simply report their phone lost, but for enterprises the ability to wipe data from a phone is just the start, Hersh cautions:

Remotely wiping only enterprise data from the phone of a terminated employee (without impacting the rest of the phone), installing anti-virus/anti-malware software, and providing and/or limiting access to the corporate network via the mobile device are just the start."

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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