Embrace Smartphone Users and Stop Sales Stagnating in 2013

By Michael Smith, a marketing executive at 9xb

 

Web use is changing. Think about how you access the internet now, compared to five years ago. Back then, it would be almost exclusively through a desktop or, at a push, laptop. Now, it’s more likely to be through a phone, a tablet or video game. A lot has changed in a short amount of time.

The stats back this up. According to the 2011 Horizon Report, by 2015, 80% of people accessing the internet will be doing so through a mobile device. Analysts from Morgan Stanley concurred with this, predicting that, based on the current rate of adoption, the mobile web will be bigger than desktop internet by 2015.

This presents a challenge and an opportunity for companies with an online presence (which is the vast majority in the 21st century). So how can businesses embrace mobile? Let’s look at one of the biggest opportunities here: smartphone users. Continue reading

Tablets outperform smartphones for mobile advertising

By Wes Biggs, CTO and co-founder, Adfonic

 

We may only be in March, but there are already clear signs that 2013 will be the year of the tablet. This is highly significant for digital marketers as they look to plan around where value lies in mobile advertising.

By the end of 2012, tablets’ share of ad impressions across Adfonic’s buying platform stood at 14%, over 50% more than at the beginning of the year. We discovered this when compiling our Global AdMetrics Report for Q3 2012, as well as noting that tablets were the most popular mobile gift over the festive period.

Off the back of the AdMetrics findings, we drilled deeper with our Tablets AdSnap report. For this, our data scientists analysed billions of ad impressions bought and sold via our platform throughout December 2012 and identified a remarkable trend: that, despite being a relatively new addition to the mobile family, tablets outperform smartphones for every type of mobile advertising campaign. Continue reading

Retail searches on tablets see a massive 238% increase

By Daniel Hunter

 

Data released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) shows that total retail search volumes grew 14% in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the same quarter a year earlier. For the first time we are able to show the growth rates of both tablet and smartphone retail search volumes.

In the fourth quarter, search volumes on tablet devices outpaced those on any other device, increasing 238% compared with growth on smartphone devices of 76%. In the fourth quarter, total search volumes grew fastest for homewares, up 28% year-on-year.
For tablets, growth in search volumes was highest for clothing, up by 273% year-on-year. Retail searches peaked on Boxing Day, with more than twice the volume of searches compared with Christmas Eve. Total search volumes from overseas consumers rose by 25% in Q4 compared with the previous year. Continue reading

Mobile Device Management: Do IT Your Way

By Darren Pitman, niu Solutions’ Compliance & Security Practice

The rapid proliferation of smart devices in the workplace is outpacing that of any previous technology. According to recent research from IDC, 75% of US and European businesses questioned said their organisation provided corporate-liable smartphones to employees in 2011, and another 49% offered tablets. The launch of bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives, brought about by user demand, is accelerating this. Employees are bringing their devices to work, like it or not, whether there is a policy or not. Organisations need to ensure they are on top of the security, compliance and management holes this brings with it. Add together this BYOD trend, and the aforementioned rise of business owned smart devices, and organisations are met with the challenge of securing, managing and monitoring all manner of devices and operating systems. Continue reading

Desktop transformation: predictions for 2013

By Centralis CTO Peter Wilkins, CTO of Centralis 

 

With the April 2014 end-of-life deadline for Windows XP looming, 2012 saw many organisations on the migration journey to Windows 7. The move to XP took larger organisations at least a couple of years to complete, and there are a several reasons why the move to Windows 7 will follow a similar timescale. Continue reading

Bring Your Own Device Will Free Workers

Employees should be liberated and be given the opportunity to use their own devices at work, according to communications specialist and cloud computing company Qubic. The company’s Managing Director said that an archaic IT policy is unhelpful for workforces that want to be more flexible.

As more businesses consider the introduction of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to enable staff to use their laptops, tablets and smartphones at work, managers are being warned that old fashioned IT protectionism is no longer relevant. As long as due diligence is paid to security issues, workers should have the freedom to work across a variety of devices, it is argued.

Chris Papa, the Managing Director of Qubic, said, “BYOD is an incredibly useful concept. Our working patterns and environments are changing and as a result, we need access to tools that will enable us to cater for that. Accessing networks via a remote cloud system really showcases the capabilities that cloud computing provides.  As long as a secure private cloud is used, and data security remains stringent, it provides a great deal of freedom for workers and can deliver cost savings for businesses in terms of equipment costs.

“BYOD will be as successful as the security that underpins it. The risks should be assessed and devices monitored. This way, employees can be productive without putting their companies in unnecessary danger.”

Chris warns that there is still a large amount of awareness that needs to be created in regards to compatibility issues when it comes to using an employee’s own device to connect to a Local Area Network (LAN).

“One issue that can become problematic and can in some cases slow things down is when companies overlook the suitability of their personal devices for work, particularly when it comes to laptops. Quite often this process can be made easier at the buying stage to ensure that workers know the right equipment and specifications they should look for. Of course, current machines can be upgraded but if it is the employer left with the bill for this, it could become a stumbling block for adoption. When these aspects are taken into account, firms can benefit hugely from employees using their own devices in a professional capacity.”

Chris Papa, the Managing Director of Qubic

Strong Policies A Must for ‘Bring Your Own Device’

The trend for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is accelerating. Increasingly, workers are using their own devices for work. In the case of smartphones, they are even paying for their own monthly plans. As a result, more organisations are opening up their networks to non-corporate devices and are seeing everything from employees’ iPads to the latest Android gadget walk through their doors.

The proliferation of personal devices in the work environment paves the way for untold efficiencies and increased productivity, not to mention lowered carrier costs. Studies have found that employees are happier and more efficient when they use devices and applications of their choice for work.

However, surprisingly few firms have policies in place to adequately secure the influx of mobile devices entering the workplace. Without these policies, many have no choice but to say no to the devices, and consequently to greater productivity and higher cost savings.

An independent survey of 300 mid to large enterprise IT decision makers in Europe, commissioned by global security specialists Fortinet, found that 60% of respondents are concerned about their ability to secure corporate data in this new user-led IT environment. Most companies are not confident of, or do not have the means to secure personal mobile devices and 66% of respondents say they only allow the use of corporate devices onto which security policies can be enforced. While 21% of enterprises place responsibility for securing personal mobile endpoints directly with the owners of those devices − a dangerous practice.

It is easy to understand an enterprise’s reluctance to embrace employee-owned devices. Generally, these devices are devoid of the most basic security features incorporated in practically all workplace PCs. Meanwhile, the agility enabled by personal devices means that business critical apps will be accessed from any network in any location, leaving a staggering amount of sensitive data on the devices, whose exposure could be highly detrimental to the business.

However, it’s getting tougher for firms to say no to BYOD. So what’s the answer to managing the security challenges? Here are three IT measures that would provide some peace of mind for organisations:

Implement A Relevant Mobile Policy:

Organisations should take time to assess their goals and determine relevant threats to the network (e.g. malicious websites, productivity loss, excessive bandwidth usage). Key questions to ponder are:

  • What applications are required, and which are not permitted?
  • Which employees will be allowed to use these devices?
  • Who has network access based on who, what, where and when?

Companies should also control access based on the need-to-know, and conduct continuous vulnerability assessments. And they need to enforce the policies they have laid down.

Remote Management Software:

It’s important to be able to apply the range of basic security functions such as antivirus or remote data wiping software to any device housing corporate data. Remote management software gives IT the ability to automatically update users’ devices with the latest patches to prevent any existing vulnerabilities from being exploited. Firms should implement centralised remote locate, track, lock, wipe, backup and restore facilities so they can protect, retrieve and restore corporate data on lost or stolen mobile devices.

Blocking Non-Compliant Devices:

Workers are often eager to use their personal devices for work but reluctant to install additional software − some of which might have the potential to wipe their personal data from their phone, tablet or laptop. As a compromise, firms could allow their workers to use their own devices IF they agree to install certain apps in accordance with the organisation’s security policy. An alternative solution could be the use of dual persona phones that have two logical partitions – one for professional and the other for personal usage, with IT having complete control over the professional partition.

Ultimately, in order to effectively protect their corporate networks and data from potential threats from mobile devices, organisations must handle the security issue at the network level rather than at endpoint level. However, it is very difficult to protect individual phones and tablets by using security agents. Mobile devices often do not have enough computing power and there are too many types of OS and devices to maintain up–to-date agents. User-wise, it is very difficult to enforce the installation of security software on personal devices that employees bring at work.

The only effective solution is to make sure that the core network is protected and that the enterprise can control both inbound and outbound access to the corporate network from external devices. This network security strategy requires strong control over users and applications on top of device management. It requires IT organisations to have the power to detect and control the use of applications on their networks and endpoints based on application classification, behavioural analysis and end-user association, and to detect and control web-based applications at a granular level, including inspecting encrypted application traffic, regardless of ports and protocols used.

Organisations need to put in a fair amount of effort to adapt and switch to a new way of supporting their employees, but there is no alternative − BYOD is here to stay and IT managers just have to get ahead of the curve.

 By Mark Hyland, UK Country Manager, Fortinet