Mobile Application Use Rising, but Security Remains an Issue

Businesses are turning to mobile applications to boost productivity, but IT departments still have concerns over app security and implementation.

More than three-quarters (76 percent) of enterprise IT decision makers plan to adopt mobile business apps in the next 12 months, but security, potential loss of data and compliance remain key concerns about business application implementation, according to a survey by IT security and information risk management solutions specialist Integralis, which studied the use of business applications on mobile devices as trends like bring your own device, or BYOD, gain traction among businesses.

The trend towards mobile devices within the workplace continues to grow, with more than half (58 percent) of the 300 survey respondents saying they expect to adopt personal information management applications, such as email, calendars and contacts in the next 12 months. Collaboration tools, such as Dropbox and Sharepoint will be deployed by just over a third (35 percent), according to the survey results, while communication apps, such as Skype, are likely to be adopted by 44 percent, with 39 percent of respondents planning to offer access to internal apps for additional functionality.

The findings also indicated organizations are looking to third parties to develop the next generation of off-the-shelf (40 percent) and custom (37 percent) mobile business applications over the next 12 months. However, 32 percent of businesses said they are planning to develop customized business apps internally.

Despite the potential gains in productivity, flexibility and efficiency offered by mobile business applications, 28 percent of organizations still do not allow them to be downloaded to mobile devices. More than half (54 percent) cited managing security, and 44 percent highlighted data protection and compliance as key concerns about the increasing use of mobile business applications.

The survey indicated IT decision makers are also worried about how to finance these changes (34 percent) and also the potential strain on current IT resources (29 percent). In fact, just 13 percent of respondents have no policies in place or enforced around mobile business applications being downloaded and used by employees, leaving them vulnerable to breaches, data loss and cyber-crime. Despite these concerns, 30 percent of respondents said they expect to purchase core mobile business apps in the next 12 months.

"Our research findings demonstrate the continuing trend towards BYOD adoption and the demand for the development of mobile business applications," Integralis product marketing director Alastair Broom said in a statement. "It also highlights that security and compliance continue to be at the forefront of concerns about employee-owned/shared devices. For companies to be able to exploit the potential benefits of collaborative and remote working, these concerns have to be addressed. We understand the importance of enabling organizations to effectively protect themselves from loss or theft of information, intrusion, downtime and loss of revenue through the misuse of mobile devices."