By Michela Menting Senior Analyst, ABI Research
The growth of cloud-based offerings for mobile devices and PCs is leading to the convergence of a single security product. A number of vendors are in fact moving towards this strategy: development of cloud and mobile functionalities for future integration into one multi-device offering.
The PC security software market for consumers is mature. Currently, many include mobile protection. However as threats evolve, security products incorporating more comprehensive features are increasingly being sold under the broader umbrella term of Internet Security Software, rather than just anti-virus. Added features include: Social Network Protection, Parental Control, Privacy Protection, ID Theft Protection, Online Banking & Payment Protection, Password Manager, Data Encryption, Backup Platform, Rescue/Safe Reboot, Remote Access, USB/Removable Media Protection, Antitheft, GPS/Location Tracking, Restore, Remote Wipe/Lock, and Camera Capture among others.
Mobile and PC convergence will happen both at the hardware and at the operating system level. Hardware convergence (e-Readers, phablets, convertibles, ultrabooks) is already happening. Software convergence in operating systems with Windows 8 and Android Jellybean (tablets and smartphones) is driving the development of cross-device and universal applications. Mobile security products are evolving in a similar fashion to PC-based security software. While stand-alone antivirus and antitheft solutions might satisfy current consumer needs, these features will be insufficient in the long term because:
° Better hardware and software will allow for more complex data intensive functionalities. Mobile devices will therefore be used for more complicated and sensitive applications by users (i.e. mobile payments, banking, health, identification) that will require higher levels of protection such as encryption, anti-phishing, secure boot, etc.
° Hardware and software convergence will blur the distinction between mobile and PC. Therefore mobile security applications and PC security applications will merge into one comprehensive consumer solution, applicable to multiple devices across the board, with similar features and functionalities.
° Other devices on the market will become smarter (wearable technology, TVs, set-top boxes, multi-media consoles, white goods, automotive entertainment). These will eventually require security applications as well which will drive consumer offerings from vendors to cover these new devices.
° Cloud-based services offer an easy functionality for consumers, with centralized management and multi-device capabilities, including storage and back-up functionalities. The simplicity of managing multi-device security from one integrated product offers an appealing and simple model for consumers.
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