Monday, December 3, 2012

Compromised Security Would Cause Mobile Customers to Jump Ship

Compromised security – more than high monthly fees – would be the biggest catalyst for triggering users to change mobile network providers, according to an independent survey conducted by market research firm Opinion Matters on behalf of Crossbeam Systems. More than 1,000 adult smartphone users were polled in each country to examine usage habits, the importance of mobile security and data services, purchasing considerations, and what would motivate them to switch providers.

According to the survey, 63 percent of global respondents cite high monthly fees as the primary issue that would drive them away from their current mobile network provider, with only five percent citing a lack of security. However, if survey respondents’ smartphones were to be compromised by hackers, malware or other security failures, 55 percent would consider changing providers and 19 percent would definitely change providers – leading to a potential exodus of 74 percent of customers.

Crossbeam Systems said this finding should challenge network providers’ conventional thinking about their investment priorities.  Most operators today are focused on building out mobile broadband infrastructure as the top priority, with less emphasis on shoring up their security infrastructure and offering value-added security services and protection to end users and their devices. The vulnerability is that users could blame the network operator for a smart phone attack even though they are not at fault.

"Smartphone users, like most people, don’t think about the security of their devices until they’ve been hacked. This may be misleading mobile network operators to focus less of their attention on customer security and underestimate the risk it creates,” said Peter Doggart, senior director of global marketing at Crossbeam. “There is an inadequate level of investment in security compared to other areas of the mobile network. This is a wake-up call for service providers, especially as we’re reaching a critical mass of smartphone users worldwide, not to mention the growth of data-enabled endpoints connecting to mobile phone networks, including smartphones, tablets, e-book readers and more. The quantity of threats directed at mobile devices and their level of sophistication are on the rise.”

The full survey report is available online.