Brits say mobile apps are as important as breathing


Britons are dependent on their smartphones and apps but also demonstrate careless mobile behaviour

New research has shown that Britons are so addicted to and dependent upon their smartphones and applications that a quarter believe mobile apps are equally as important as a basic human resource such as eating, breathing and drinking.

The Application Intelligence Report (AIR), is a global research project that examines the behaviour and attitudes of the global workforce toward the use of business and personal apps, and their impact on risk, security, and corporate culture. AIR was commissioned by A10 Networks, a secure application services company, and found that Britons stood out over other countries in a number of ways.

Results included the fact that British firms had the largest percentage of employees (41%) who use non-sanctioned apps at work.

Additionally, more Britons claim to have had their mobile devices hacked with one in four (24%) claiming it had happened to them, more than any almost any other country globally, and more than any other European country. Employees from Great Britain and the US think the likelihood of a mobile hack (45% and 43%, respectively) is comparable to the likelihood of their car being broken into (42% and 41%, respectively).

Nearly one in three (32%) of UK participants said cyberattacks are something they “just try not to think about”,  more so than the global or European average. Also, Brits do not think about security when downloading apps. The countries that think least about security risks are the UK and Japan.

UK participants lose their mobile devices more frequently (24%) or have them stolen (19%), more than the global average, and more than the rest of Europe.

When it comes to what we would grab in an emergency, Britons showed an almost equal preference for their smartphone (38%) or a safe with important documents (37%), far higher than the number who would save family photos (19%). Only 6% of Britons would save a computer in the event of an emergency.

Yet when compared to the rest of the world, Britons lagged far behind China in their attachment to their smartphone. Altogether, 74% of Chinese people stated that they would save their smartphone in an emergency as compared to 38% of Britons and only 31% of Americans. The French displayed a below average attachment with only 29% opting to save the smartphone. This was the lowest of all the countries.

Mike Hemes, regional director Western Europe at A10 Networks, commented: “The results of the global survey are quite astonishing. In the UK we clearly place huge value on applications and our smartphones. It is amazing to think that more than half of Britons would rather leave their house unlocked all day rather than leave their phone unlocked for one hour unaccompanied in a public place. Smartphones are critical to our lives and yet as the research also showed we all too often leave them open to being hacked and used for sinister purposes.”

Overall, the results show that attitudes towards the importance of smartphones and apps vary within Europe and globally. The Germans in particular showed much less interest and attachment to their smartphones and apps compared to those in the UK. Meanwhile those in China and Brazil showed the strongest attachment, nearly always responding far above the global average in response to questions on the importance of their smartphones and apps.

Despite the importance attached to smartphones and applications the research also showed that employees all too often do not consider or take responsibility for security. When compared to the global average Britons were less likely than average to take personal responsibility for security. When asked about who is ultimately responsible for protecting an employee’s personal identity and information when a personal, non-business app is used at work only 37% of Britons said it was their responsibility.

Finally, over half (55%) of Britons would rather lose their trousers than their smartphone. Germans were the opposite, displaying a much greater attachment to their trousers than their smartphone, with 22% more Germans prepared to lose their smartphone rather than their trousers.


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