Demystifying Security: MTD | Mobile Threat Defense


What is MTD? 

Yet another three-letter acronym in the increasingly complex mobility world? 


Well, not exactly. MTD stands for Mobile Threat Defense and, to make a long story short, this is comparable to the typical antivirus software installed on your desktop computers but extended to a whole new level to tackle the challenges brought on by our ever-connected mobile devices. 


What does MTD do?

Its main functions could be summarized, but not limited to: 

  •     Block malware infections 
  •     Check application integrity 
    •     Both private (in-house) and public (store) apps 
    •     Avoid running unverified side-loaded apps 
  •     Detect unsecure network connections 
    •     Wi-Fi network with no or weak encryption 
    •     Connection to suspicious domains (ex: blacklisted) 
  •     Prevent phishing attacks 
    •     Suspicious URLs sent via email or SMS (ex: usually from fake banks) 
  •     Notify back to UEM solution to enforce compliance actions 

Proactivity is the key here to prevent, detect and remedy possible threats as early as possible. 


Why do you need MTD?

The rise of mobility has come with an exponential growth of malware and cyberattacks; as we become more connected, we are more exposed to possible threats. We are no longer talking about the typical trojan or virus trying to mess with your computer by deleting (best case) or locking all your files and asking for a ransom (worst case). With mobility at the center of our life, what better way to try to steal our private or corporate data, like credit card numbers and confidential corporate information, than attacking the one piece of hardware we constantly use and rely on to essentially store “our life” (mail, documents, pictures, credentials, etc.)? 


Protecting all your endpoints, including mobile phones, tablets, laptops or servers, is key to ensuring the global health and security of your corporate environment. 


On top of that, most MTDs can only work together with Zero-Trust solutions to combine and become Zero-Touch, but we’ll save this for another blog post. 


Which MTD to choose?

There are dozens of MTD solutions out there, so picking one can become frustrating, and testing all of them is a no-go. We can certainly help you pick the right one for your environment, but there are a few things to consider before selecting an MTD solution: 

  • Make sure your endpoints are supported 
    • Do not just consider the obvious support of mobile devices (iOS, Android, Windows 10, etc.) but of your whole fleet, i.e. desktop computers (Windows, macOS, ChromeOS, etc.) and wearables (smartwatches, smartglasses, etc.) 
  • Check that the MTD solution integrates with your current UEM solution(s) 
    • Avoid having to manage yet another product with its own standalone console and benefit from these new features right away on the console you are already using to manage and monitor your whole environment 
    • Ensure easy and painless deployment to your endpoints using the same proven mechanisms and procedures 
  • Check with your vendor for which technologies they are using: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Deep Learning (DL), etc. 
    • Some, but not all, MTDs can actually work offline (ex: flight mode), ensuring your endpoints are secured at all times 
  • Find a desirable price point 

If available, the MTD solution offered by your UEM vendor should definitely be the first option to test, as it will be easier to integrate, manage, deploy and license cost should be lower. 

Each kind of MTD has its strong points that should compliment the business and security demands you are seeking from an MTD solution. Some MTD solutions use AI while others do not, and some have signature files, usage patterns, etc. Therefore, selecting an MTD solution boils down to assessing your business’s main objectives and priorities when it comes to mobile threat defense.  


(C) Rémi Frédéric Keusseyan, Mobility Expert/Master Trainer  

Learn about MTD solutions – what they are, how they differ, and how they’re used.  Let´s get in contact:

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