Written by: By: Fran Rosch, Senior Vice President, Mobile, Symantec
Successful technology adoption requires managing the drawbacks while maximizing the benefits, and few trends today illustrate this better than mobility. We’re seeing a wide variety in the degree to which organizations are allowing employees to use mobile devices for business, as well as the amount of control they are exerting over devices and applications. To see the results of these different philosophies and determine how organizations can get the most out of their mobile deployment, Symantec surveyed more than 3,000 organizations globally - including Canada, from SMBs to large enterprises.
Innovators and Traditionals
We asked the businesses about their level of involvement with mobility, and noted two distinct groups among the respondents. The first group is the innovators. These organizations are willing to be the early adopters of new technology, taking an active approach to try new things that can benefit the business. On the other hand, there is also a group of traditional organizations that are more resistant to change until circumstances pressure them to react.
The two groups have different attitudes when it comes to mobility. The innovators are motivated to adopt mobility because of business drivers, with 84 percent rating them as important. In Canada, 52 percent of organizations rated business drivers as important. On the other hand, the traditionals that adopt mobility are being influenced by user demand and they take a reactive approach. These attitudes may be influenced by different perceptions of risk – two-thirds of innovators feel that the benefits of mobility outweigh the risks, while three-quarters of traditional feel that is not the case. Organizations in Canada differed slightly, with 37 percent agreed that the benefits of mobility outweigh the risks.
Mobility Adoption and Management
The differences are affecting the rate at which these groups are taking advantage of mobility. About 50 percent more employees use smartphones in innovator companies compared to traditional, and the innovators also more frequently purchase the devices for them. We’re seeing a similar trend related to mobile apps as well, with innovators more commonly using mobile devices for business apps. In addition, 83 percent of the innovators are considering creating corporate app stores, compared to 55 percent of traditionals. In Canada, 52 percent of organizations said they were discussing creating corporate app stores, leading us to believe there may be more traditionals in Canada than innovators.
In addition to the use of the devices themselves, the innovators are also more likely to manage mobility through policies, and implementing tools to protect information. The use of technology is different among the two groups as well, with innovators nearly twice as likely to enforce policies through technology, as opposed to traditional who prefer a manual approach.
The Costs and Benefits of Mobility
As with early adoption of any technology, mobile innovators are seeing more costs than traditionals. In fact, they’re experiencing nearly twice as many incidents such as data or productivity loss, as well as direct financial costs. However, they are also experiencing far more benefits, explaining why the majority still feel that it is worth it. These benefits apply to the employees as well as the organization as a whole. The innovators are experiencing greater overall productivity, happier employees and better employee retention. The business as a whole sees improved brand value and customer happiness, making them more competitive and able to make better business decisions.
The innovators are also seeing dramatic improvements in revenue, showing significant separation from the traditionals. On average, they are seeing a nearly 50 percent increase in revenue growth and profits. Canadian organizations show an average of 66% revenue growth and 21% profit growth.
As organizations from SMBs to enterprises look to effectively implement mobility and enjoy the benefits with minimal risks, Symantec recommends the following actions:
a. Ensure secure access to apps – Focus on identity management through measures such as strong password policies.
b. Protect your apps and data – Application management, as opposed to whole-device management, can be effective at delivering security where it is needed.
c. Put in place effective device management – Ensure that mobility policies are consistently followed for all devices, following all applicable regulations, to keep information safe wherever it is used.
d. Implement comprehensive threat protection – Cyber criminals are shifting their focus to mobile devices, and it’s becoming increasingly important to protect against rogue apps, unsafe browsing and external attacks.
e. Supply secure file sharing – The productivity of sharing files in the cloud also introduces additional risks that need to be guarded against.