Take my wallet, not my mobile, say consumers

Mobile phone operators will come under increasing pressure to implement the sort of data management techniques that many businesses demand for corporate mobile devices.

That is the conclusion of mobile device management company Mformation, following a survey of 4,000 people in the UK and US.

The research highlighted the amount of data now held on mobile devices and individuals’ concerns about data security.

Not surprisingly, 94% of users surveyed store telephone numbers while 65% also store address and other contact information. Some 83% have digital photos, 51% have videos, 48% have calendar information and 40% have music downloads.

The volume and type of data stored meant 82% of those surveyed feared that if their phones were lost or stolen, their data would be used for fraud. Some 72% said the information on their devices would be difficult to replace and 40% said that losing a mobile would be worse than losing their wallet.

In a market that has recently seen new much-hyped smartphone releases from Palm (Palm Pre), Apple (iPhone 3G S) and Nokia (Nokia N97), the amount and value of data on personal devices is set to grow.

Rob Dalgety, commercial director Mformation, said, “We have seen on the enterprise side a growing capability to secure the data on mobile devices. Increasingly, consumers are going to want those sorts of capabilities.

Over the next two years, Dalgety said, “there is going to be an opportunity for operators to aggressively roll out these solutions.”

Dalgety said the service could be sold as part of an upgrade, part of a service package or as part of an insurance offering where, if a phone is lost, the operator could lock down data on the device.

Operators who adopt this technology could also market the service back to enterprise IT departments, Dalgety said.

As smart phones become ubiquitous the job of imposing and maintaining access policies to corporate networks for a variety of devices becomes increasingly complex.

“Much as IT organisations might want to lock down mobile access or limit the support they provide,” this will be increasingly difficult he said. The technology exists to pass some of the necessary control to the network operators, said Bancroft, adding that he expected this type of service to be increasingly attractive to hard pressed corporate IT teams.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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