Many mobile users are uneasy about smartphone security (survey)

Nearly half of mobile users have increased data use significantly in the last year, but not even close to all of that population feels that the information is secure.

Data usage among mobile device owners is undoubtedly rising, especially as more consumers start to pick up smartphones and tablets. Yet there is a big disparity between the amount of data being used up and how secure mobile users feel about the transmission of that information, according to Oracle Communications.

The survey, "Opportunity Calling: The Future of Mobile Communications – Take Two," is based upon the responses from more than 3,000 mobile phone users worldwide, examining their perceptions of mobile phones, interest in new technologies, and expectations for the next wave of mobile communications.

Let's look at some initial highlights from the survey, by the numbers:

  • 47 percent of mobile customers said their data use increased in the past 12 months.
  • 32 percent of those users believe the information stored or transmitted by their mobile phone is secure.
  • 16 percent of mobile customers have purchased a tablet computer, while another 41% plan to buy one in the next 12 months.

Continuing on, one reason for why data use is increasing in particular is the adoption of smartphones. But that's because as smartphone technology gets better, it is continuing to replace many other compact gadgets such as digital cameras and portable music players.

Thus, when one device is available at all times like the smartphone is for most owners, then the habit of just grabbing the phone for random tasks that might have been put off for a computer later increases rapidly.

However, that gap between users who believe that their information on mobile devices is secure versus those who aren't could be alarming for mobile manufacturers as well as businesses that cater to mobile products and develop apps for them.

Specifically, 68% of survey respondents replied "unsure" or flat out "no" when asked if they thought the information stored or transmitted on mobile phones is secure.

Mobile payments is one area that appears to be alarming some mobile users. Oracle reports that "while customers are becoming more comfortable with apps and other mobile access features, they still express concerns about information security."

So far, only 21 percent of respondents said they would be “very comfortable” making a purchase with a mobile phone instead of using cash or credit card.

Nevertheless, payments and similar features being adopted by mobile technology is still in its infancy, so these numbers could change drastically in the next few years. Yet, it's still something that businesses targeting these consumers need to keep in mind.