Recent headlines tell the story: “Hackers Demonstrate a Rising Vulnerability of Smartphones”. On the one hand, this is a concern for subscribers, who worry about lost data, unauthorized access, and other security risks. But I’d like to look at the flip side of this issue, which is the business opportunity for operators who can provide a secure environment for their customers.
The starting point for this opportunity is the close relationship between operators and their customers, who generally expect their providers to take the responsibility for protecting them from all security threats even if it is their own fault. So, for many operators, ensuring that their customers’ devices are protected has been the logical response to meet expectations, prevent damage to their reputation, and ultimately customer churn and revenue loss.
The risks for operators who are unwilling to take responsibility for security are clear. Research has shown that they can expect 4 times higher churn when a security incident occurs, and as operators know, churn is expensive. It costs 3-5 times more to acquire a new subscriber than to retain an existing one. So there are benefits to taking a proactive rather than a reactive approach to security breaches or malware. The math is simple and there is money to be made by ensuring security.
So, how can operators benefit: Operators can generate new business and significantly increase customer retention by offering security on top of existing contracts. When people know that their mobile environment is secure, they are more comfortable trying and using new applications and services. Enterprise customers are particularly concerned about malware on smartphones and risks involving the loss of data or intellectual property, especially with devices used for both personal and business purposes. They are willing to pay extra for protection against these threats. In fact, Nokia Siemens Networks demonstrated the benefits to a European mobile operator who was able to sell additional security functions to 50,000 corporate customers for an additional 5-10 Euro/subscriber/month. This is expected to yield annual revenues of 2.5-5M Euros. So, it is clearly a money making proposition for the operator.
Where should operators start? Our approach at Nokia Siemens Networks is to provide one trusted source for security. Our Mobile Security Suite for Mobile Broadband, for example, combines both device- and network-based protection. Device-based protection provides functions like lock and wipe, back-up and restore, which are essential when phones are stolen. Security attacks such as remotely controlled cybercrime are detected and mitigated by network-based protection. Our solution is modular and components can be selected according to customer needs. With over 450 Security projects worldwide and a strong team of security experts who have earned over 400 security certifications including CISSP, CCSA, CISA, CISM, we are a leader in Security for Mobile Broadband.
How do you feel about smartphone security?
Rightly or wrongly, subscribers are more than likely to blame their operator for any security issue that may hit their smart device. By being proactive, operator can turn this into an opportunity to ensure the security of their subscribers’ devices and enjoy the benefits of increased revenue, reduced churn, and ultimately reduced OPEX, as a result.
Please share your thoughts about smartphone security both in your personal life and your business life.
Read more about our security solutions: www.nsn.com/security
This post is by Gudrun Falkenberg from Nokia Siemens Networks solution management team.