Mobile Communications

Kathryn Cave (Asia) - The Tablet Security Conundrum

Last Thursday IDG Connect released global tablet research based on a survey of 3124 IT and business professionals. Kathryn Cave discusses the Asian findings.

Tim Dillon, associate vice president of mobility and end user research at IDC Asia-Pacific, recently stated that the onset of consumer devices entering the enterprise arena had led to increased support costs and security complexities. This will be no more evident than in the massive Asian shift towards tablet adoption over the next 12 months.

Asian tablet trends

Our research shows 66% of Asians currently own a tablet. This is just below the global average of 71%. However, findings show those Asian IT and business professionals who don’t own a tablet are more likely than average to invest in one over the next three months than anywhere else in the world. On top of this seismic shift towards tablet adoption, Asians are more likely than average to use their tablet daily for work.
This must raise some concerns in a market where security is a growing issue. In his recent address Dillon was keen to highlight the problem: despite the fact that consumer mobile devices are not secure, companies are still not focusing on mobile security implementations. To back up his point he cited a February 2012 survey which showed 80% of 200 respondents believed their main challenge was to convince top-level management mobile security was important.

Asian adoption

Survey findings also revealed some interesting trends in tablet adoption amongst Asian IT and business professionals, which may or may not impact the situation. In December last year McAfee released research which stated that “Apple iOS is safer than Android” and that Android attracted more malware than any mobile platform.

Our results showed that more Asian professionals currently own an iPad than an Android tablet device, but this trend is unlikely to continue. Although first time Asian buyers are actually 1% below the global average of 44% in stating they will purchase an Android device there is still a significant move towards this platform. The majority of Asian respondents believe that Apple’s market leadership is unsustainable globally. 51% believe that Android will become global market leader during the next 12 months, while 46% opt for Apple.

Significantly, the area where Asians really do show themselves to be unique in their tablet usage is when we asked respondents what they felt was the main attraction of tablets, 69% of Asians stated “Speed: good for instant use”. This was higher than any other continent. 46% of Asians also highlighted “Visual: multi-media content renders especially well” as a main attraction. Again, this was higher than the global average. These areas both suggest a stronger desire to use tablets for the consumption of online video than anywhere else. This type of content particularly can throw up real security concerns for businesses.

In a world of BYOD, where more Asians are using their tablet for work communications than any other continent, the surge in tablet adoption opens up both opportunities and problems for businesses across the region. The most obvious of these is security. The message here is loud and clear: IT managers in Asia must get to grips with the risks of tablets before this growing trend becomes unmanageable.

Kathryn Cave is Editor of IDG Connect.


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