Research Finds Enterprise Investments In Mobility Initiatives On The Rise

Need For Mobile Device Security Increases

Esther Shein

Investment in enterprise mobile technology in 2018 has been a priority with overall positive adoption rates and budgets, according to the VDC Research report Enterprise Mobile Buyer Behavior Dataset & Forecast Models.

Small wonder, given a projection by Gartner that by 2022, 75 percent of smartphones used in the enterprise will be bring your own device (BYOD), up from 35 percent in 2018. This will force “a migration from device-centric management to app- and data-centric management,’’ the firm noted in its 2018 Competitive Landscape: Managed Mobility Services report.

Mobile hardware generally comprises the largest portion of enterprise budgets, according to the VDC Research report. And, aside from the otherwise optimistic state of enterprise mobility, the prevailing concern among respondent business and IT leaders is the increasing problem of cybersecurity data breaches.

Indeed, among the key findings of the report is that 49.5 percent of respondent transportation organizations report they are the most likely to have been the victim of a data breach or cyberattack – a whopping 136.5 percent increase since last year.

So it comes as no surprise that more frequently, providers of managed mobility services (MMS) are partnering with security service providers that offer services related to threat detection and prevention on mobile devices, apps and data, according to the Gartner report. “Security is getting the due focus in the mobility space with respect to data access, threats to the device and the data stored on the device,” the report stated. “Security management is recognized as a distinct component that covers the security aspect beyond MMS.”

The risk of mobile threats is something the federal government is also paying attention to with the prevalence of smartphones and tablets used at work. A studyon mobile device security released last year by the Department of Homeland Security recommends a set of best practices, including increased government participation in standards development, researching vulnerabilities in mobile networks, and creation of a set of standards and security best practices for mobile application security.  

Additionally, DHS recommended adopting a framework for mobile device security based on existing standards, noting that “Such a framework would ensure a baseline level of security for government mobility, while providing the flexibility to address the mission needs, risk profiles and use cases of federal departments and agencies.” The framework should include mobile application security, enterprise mobility management, mobile device security, and cellular network security, the department advised.

The VDC Research report delved into vertical industries, and on a more positive note, found a significant increase -- 113.3 percent -- in mobility initiatives in the healthcare vertical. Respondents rate the maturity level of their organizations’ mobile technology capabilities as “pioneering” over 2017.

One of the more surprising findings in the VDC Research report was that field service professionals “express a waning confidence in and satisfaction with their mobility problems,” yet, they have the highest smartphone (57 percent), and laptops/notebooks deployment rates (50.6 percent) of any other industry surveyed.

In warehousing, the most pressing priorities driving mobility investments are increasing employee productivity, increasing picking efficiency and improving inventory turnaround – which align with last year’s top three investment priorities, VDC Research noted.

In terms of deploying mobile products, manufacturing organizations are lagging in comparison with other industries. Only 49.3 percent of respondents in this vertical said they have a formal mobile technology policy in place – the lowest among all the industries surveyed.

The report also found a decrease of nine percent in the “app gap” in the retail space. “Benefitting from that, inventory availability/product locators and mobile point of sale are the most supported mobile applications for store associates,’’ the report stated. “For customers, mobile ordering and mobile payment are the most pervasive mobile capabilities.”

For direct store delivery organizations, the main device selection criteria for respondents are: processor speed, price and operating system. “This differentiates DSD operations from other segments in which besides price – top criteria are more commonly quality/reliability, security features and battery life.”

The 2018 VDC Research annual survey drew 468 executive-level respondents in healthcare, field service, warehousing, manufacturing, retail, transportation and direct store delivery operations at a variety of company sizes globally, although they were primarily from North America.