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Getting smart on device security

By admin on Wed 28 March, 2012

When it comes to PC security, most people are sensible – we install anti-virus software, don’t open suspicious looking emails and keep passwords secret.

So, what happens when it comes to smartphone security? While 9 out of 10 PC users protect their computers, only 23% of smart device users do so. Although they say they are concerned about security, smart device users certainly don’t act as if they do. An amazing 62% download applications without checking they’re from a trusted source, more than half don’t use a pin or lock their smartphone, while two thirds leave mobile application accounts continuously logged in. Added to this is the fact that 84% of subscribers already use them to manage sensitive data, both personal and business.

It could be that most people are not aware that their smartphones can be as vulnerable as their PCs, though there has been much publicity pointing out the threats. Trojans have already been found on Android smartphones, sending premium-SMS messages without the owners’ knowledge, while Blackberries have been attacked by cyber criminals. Malware is also exploiting vulnerabilities on Apple’s iOS.

Enterprises recognize the high risks involved in their employees using mobile devices for both personal use and business and nearly 2/3 are worried about loss of confidential data and intellectual property.

Perhaps one reason that people in general are so lax about smartphone security is that they see it as the responsibility of their operator to ensure that nasty things don’t happen to their phone. Certainly operators are in a good position to do so. They can provide the “killer combination” of security and convenience by bundling network- and device-based security together into an end-to-end solution. Network-based security can cover a range of different smart devices, in contrast to the proprietary solution approach adopted by vendors such as RIM (Blackberry), Apple or Google,

As well as providing secure remote access for the staff of enterprises and protecting the company systems from malware and unauthorized access, they can allow customers to manage their lost or stolen devices centrally by locking, wiping and locating missing phones.

There is also a lot in it for the operators providing these security measures. Customers will appreciate being looked after and this trust can translate into increased customer loyalty that will dissuade them from churning. The feeling of increased security can also encourage users to take up other innovative services, safe in the knowledge that the applications is not vulnerable to attack by  people with evil intent.

But how do operators go about providing this security? What solutions should they adopt to reassure their private and corporate customers that their data is safe from hacking?

Well, that’s a story for another time – watch this space!

The post is by Dina Bartels from our Global Services team

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