Survey results from an IDC study recently revealed that people are relying more and more on their smart mobile device as their primary tool for communication and connecting.

The study, sponsored by Facebook, highlights some compelling insights about mobility including:

  • Half of the total US population uses smartphones
  • A “sense of being connected” is the strongest sentiment for driving mobile social usage
  • The most popular activities on smartphones are email (78%), Web browsing (73%) and Facebook (70%)

alwaysconnectedEveryday we are seamlessly integrating mobility features into our daily lives. We use mobile devices for tasks such as email, mobile shopping and making social connections. According to the IDC study, nearly 80 percent of us reach for our phone within 15 minutes of waking up for the day – I am part of this statistic!

It’s clear that mobility and the increasing use of social media creates new ways for us to interact and connect, but it’s also creating new security concerns. With the influx of personal data on our social media news feeds and our purchasing habits sitting in our smartphone’s browsing history, how can we make sure our personal information is secure? In addition, as the lines between personal and work devices blur, how can enterprises make sure employee-owned social networks aren’t opening the door for the latest network threat? An essential part of our mobile future will depend on enterprises and individuals developing a comprehensive approach to protecting sensitive data and privacy.

For global organizations, an approach to mobile security needs to be part policy, part education and part technology to adequately support the needs of a mobile workforce, ensure efficiency and achieve key business objectives. For example, respondents cited in the recent Cisco Connected World International Mobile Security white paper, presented a variety of reasons for not always being concerned about security threats. The top reason: They don’t think there is enough risk for concern. And some respondents indicated they weren’t always concerned about device-related security because their IT department hadn’t informed them of any threats. This type of insight is an important part of why a multi-touch approach to security on an enterprise level is essential.

For businesses, this multi-touch approach to security includes evolving their security model to meet the needs of today’s connected world and trying to find common ground with employees who are demanding access to applications and devices they want to use for work. As they seek to find “optimal” answers to the many IT challenges and considerations, organizations can re-evaluate acceptable use policies and business codes of conduct, putting greater focus on data loss prevention efforts, and working to make enterprise security a top-of-mind concern for all employees, at all levels of the organization.

Overall, there is no straight path to reaching a state of “secure mobility.” Today’s CIO plays a role in this like no other time in history.  Securing mobile experiences is now strategically important to the business and not something relegated only to the CSO or to the IT department. Leaders must set the tone and the pace that encourages all facets of an organization to ensure that security is a forethought. Properly deployed mobile solutions will have transparent terms and opt-in conditions that allow consumers to make informed decisions. In addition, enterprises must work to stay on top of rising security challenges associated with integrating mobile devices into all business operations.

For more information, check out our infographic with findings from the Cisco Connected World International Mobile Security Study. Follow @Cisco_Mobility and join the conversation, #CiscoYourWay.


Michael Fuhrman

Vice President

Security Services and Cloud Operations