Anti-virus software ranks high in my book of ‘cures’ that are worse than the disease. Sure, AV software can do a good job of blocking crash-inducing, bank-account-emptying malware. But it’s always been such a drag on my PC’s performance that it might as well have been infected, you know what I mean?
So count me among those people who would love to wave buh-bye to anti-virus software. Unfortunately, I can’t completely buy Forbes’ Andy Greenberg’s argument that cloud-centric mobile devices like Google’s ChromeBook are a “death knell” for anti-virus software.
Even with the reported 400% rise in Android malware in the last 9 months, there are still far fewer trojans, viruses, scripts, etc. on mobile devices. Which is why only the most paranoid consumers today bother to get anti-virus software for their phone or tablet. I don’t see that changing.
It’s a different story for businesses, which have to be more security-conscious. I can see some of them getting antivirus software to protect company-issued tablets and phones, but usually as a component of their overall mobile device management software. For example, Afaria, from my employer Sybase, can come configured with both anti-virus and firewall components.
As demand for standalone anti-virus software wanes in the post-PC era, the need for securing and managing devices rises greatly. Not a lot of data is stored on mobile devices today. But as devices get smarter and apps more sophisticated, they inevitably will.
Not everything is going to the cloud/Web. For instance: contrary to Google’s claims that the ChromeBook is a Web-only notebook, the company has said it will release an SDK for developing local apps.
That local data still needs to be encrypted and protected by strong passwords. These security policies need to be centrally enforced. App and OS vulnerabilities need to be patched automatically over-the-air. These are things that can be done, and done well, using MDM software.
That’s why Disney is thinking about getting Afaria to secure the multiple thousands of iPhones and iPads used by its employees. Demand for MDM software is why Gartner debuted an MDM Magic Quadrant this year. Afaria was one of the leaders.
As fake holidays go, this is at least no worse than Odometer Day (May 12) or Mailman Food Drive Day (May 14).
So celebrate it by giving your mobile administrator or enterprise developer a hug, or heading out of the office to knock out some e-mails at your local Peet’s coffeeshop, or working ONLY using your tablet and smartphone today. Or tweet your support with the hashtag #WEMD.