Mobile Security: 50% Of US Adults Own Smart Devices Like Smartphone Or Tablet.

According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center, a survey of more than 9,500 people shows that half of all adults in the US own either a tablet computer or a smart phone.  Is it any wonder that the BYOD trend is gaining steam?  Such enthusiasm, however, tends to dampen when there is a data breach, so an effort must be made to ensure that mobile data security is in place.

How News Will be Consumed, Other Insights

Aside from the ownership of devices, it looks like the survey was looking into how news was being consumed.  Among the results:

  • One-third use their devices to get news at least once a week.

  • About half the tablets were Apple’s iPad, whereas one year ago, it was 81%.

  • Nearly 22% own a tablet computer, which is double of last year’s figures.

  • Of those who didn’t have a tablet, approximately 25% will get one in the next six months.

The rest of the findings were concentrated on the consumption of news.  But, smartphones and tablets are mini-computers and not just for reading headlines.

Mail, Banking Apps, and More – Is Your Device Secure?

The results concerning tablets give me some things to think over.  Based on the figures, a simple calculation shows us that, in six months’ time, over 40% of adults in the US will have a tablet device.

This has huge implications for security.  Past surveys have shown that a significant number of device owners don’t use passwords or passcodes to protect their devices (25% in a recent survey, although I’ve seen lower and higher numbers).  Why is this a problem?  Because, in my opinion and experience, tablets tend to be chock-full of personal information.

As the owner of a tablet and a much smaller smart device, I can attest that using a tablet is a better experience than the latter.  In fact, it’s a pleasure to use — so much so that there are certain apps that I’ve added that I wouldn’t add on a smartphone, such as a banking app.  It wasn’t a matter of security, mind you.  It’s just that the banking app on the smartphone was annoying to use due to the smaller screen real estate.

Reading and replying to email is also a better experience.  So is the engagement with different forms of social media like Twitter and Facebook.  In fact, there is so much more going on my tablet that it led me to change how I approach security on the device: I now use a 10-character passcode to protect its content, for example.  But, that’s only because I work in the digital data security industry and I’m very aware of “what could be.”

But this is not necessarily true for people in general, as we can tell from the rate of people opting not to use passcodes on their devices (another simple calculation shows that the 25% figure leads to 1 in 10 in the general populace going about with an unsecured tablet.  That is, every tenth person you randomly pick out from a crowd will have an unsecured tablet).

With more and more people opting to join the BYOD bandwagon, such ineffective (or non-existent) security practices can only lead to rising numbers of data security breaches.

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