Operators can cut churn by taking responsibility for smartphone security, the global head of Nokia Siemens security solutions division believes.
Thorsten Schneider told TelecomAsia.net the threat of smartphone malware is growing inline with the penetration of the devices, and that operators should take responsibility for protecting the handsets as well as their networks. Carriers that get it right will boost customer loyalty, so cutting the chances of that user jumping ship, he says.
Device security “can become an additional business for the operator,” particularly for heavy users for whom “security is an important factor,” Schneider explains.
He notes that demand for smartphone security is being driven by the enterprise segment, but can be just as beneficial on consumer devices – particularly those bought by parents for their children. “The end-user is not a security expert,” Schneider told TA.net, adding that operators can provide parental controls to help protect younger smartphone users.
Despite much talk of smartphone viruses and malware in the past decade, to date there has not been a single attack to rival threats to PCs. Schneider explains the growing number of smartphones, and an increase in their complexity, is now making them “more interesting” for cyber criminals. He claims malware for the Android operating system alone has risen by 3,000% to between 13,000 and 14,000 programs.
The growing use of smartphones in business is another factor in the need for greater all-round security, whether the units are supplied by the company or brought in by employees, Schneider argues. “Enterprises need to create awareness with their employees,” he states, noting that staff must use password protection to protect data, or have the ability to delete information if the device is lost.
NSN is seeing increased demand from operators for security solutions that cover the network and devices, and has completed 1,700 integration projects to date, Schneider says. “I’m seeing tremendous pull from operators,” he told TA.net.
While that demand still tends to be from carriers in developed markets, Schneider says the time lag between mature and emerging territories is narrowing – down from around two years previously to a matter of months today in terms of operators looking to invest in security.
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