Mobile is Producing Productivity Gains, But Mobile Security Remains a Challenge

June 6, 2016
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3 min read

Mobile Security Is a Challenge!

There is no question that mobile is having a dramatic impact on both our personal and professional lives. It seems everyone has a smart device in their hands today; they are ingrained in our daily lives.

It has been said that mobile is the most disruptive technology since the internet. Think about that for a minute — think about all the ways that the internet has changed our lives over the last 20 years. Now think about how mobile is impacting our lives today. Despite the fact that mobile has been around since the early days of the modern internet, the most sweeping changes have just occurred in the last few years.

The proliferation of smart devices has been the key to those dramatic changes. Prior to their introduction, mobile was really just a convenient way to stay in touch when on the go. With this in mind, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that we are still in the early days of mobile transformation.

If you think back to the early days of the modern internet, there was a scramble to register domains, create websites and get businesses online even though we weren’t quite sure what to do once we were on the web. This flurry of activity isn’t so different from where we are today as companies work furiously to develop apps to support associates, clients, business partners and others.

A great deal of the mobile activity happening today is being done without a clear plan and goal. Everyone is doing it, and we don’t want to be left behind. But with the increase in mobile and the subsequent transformation of the enterprise come mobile security challenges that must be addressed.

Much Ado About Nothing?

This strategy of jumping into the fray isn’t entirely bad. As mobile evolves, enterprises will benefit from testing the waters during the early days. But all the activity had me asking questions: Is mobile really transforming the enterprise, or is this a lot of hype with very little real transformation happening?

This question prompted me, through IBM, to sponsor “The 2016 Mobile Security & Business Transformation Study.” The goal of this study was to find out whether companies were really seeing business transformation from mobile, whether they were experiencing measurable productivity gains and what steps they were taking to deploy mobile security strategies.

Mobile Is Creating Productivity Gains

I can’t say I was surprised that our survey respondents indicated they were seeing business transformation, but what really surprised me was that many are able to identify measurable productivity gains. For example:

  • Twenty-six percent were able to link their mobile initiatives to increases in revenue.
  • One-quarter identified cost savings related to mobile deployments.
  • About 31 percent have seen a decrease in the amount of time required to resolve customer issues.

While these numbers may not be large enough to represent the majority, it is impressive to see these gains based on where we are in the adoption and maturity of mobile. It is still early in this game. Companies are trying to determine how to leverage and deploy mobile as efficiently as possible.

Many organizations are working to duplicate web applications and access for use by mobile devices, but they haven’t started thinking about how to garner gains from these transformative programs. I suspect there are actually more enterprises benefiting from productivity gains that are unable to measure them.

You can see more details on the productivity gains in our 2016 Mobile Security & Business Transformation infographic.

Watch the on-demand webinar: Key Insights from the Mobile Security & Business Transformation Study

Is There a Downside?

I don’t know that I would call it a downside, but just like the internet, with the good you also get some challenges. We have spent years securing the enterprise. At the same time, cybercriminals have spent as much time or more identifying ways to breach it.

With the explosive growth of mobile comes new opportunities for those with malicious intent, and they are constantly working to identify ways to exploit this new platform. They are attacking devices, data, apps and users as they search for an efficient manner to gain access to the enterprise. With multiple threat vectors, companies must have a comprehensive plan in place for securing the mobile environment.

We asked our respondents to tell us what their mobile security experience has been. They shared some interesting statistics:

  • About 63 percent said there are more security threats than they expected.
  • More seriously, 58 percent said these security threats inhibit the organization’s full deployment of a mobile security strategy.

So what’s the current state of mobile? Mobile is growing, and companies are seeing measurable productivity gains. But there are real security threats that must be accounted for as part of any mobile strategy.

I have only scratched the surface of what our 200-plus respondents from around the world shared in our survey. If you would like to hear more about what our respondents had to say about mobile, watch our on-demand webinar “Key Insights from the Mobile Security & Business Transformation Study.”

Jason Hardy
Market Segment Manager, Mobile Security, IBM