Operators are regarded by customers and business partners as security guarantors across a range of services.
As mobile phones evolve into personal data hubs, end users are facing privacy and security dangers that are escalating and multiplying, as threats converge from a range of environments, including SMS, cloud, Web 2.0 and mobile apps. As a result, customers are now as concerned about data integrity as call quality.
Trusted to be secure but blamed for breaches
Carriers should be well placed to help users address these threats, since they are regarded as more trustworthy than other service providers, such as social networks.
Yet customers hold operators responsible for threats or attacks from third parties and suppliers - even including mobile malware and rogue apps. At the same time, privacy concerns hamper service innovation. For example, location-sensitive data can support advertising-based revenue models but may raise concerns around customers' privacy.
User perception of responsibility for mobile security10
New definitions — new responsibilities
To manage the resulting risks effectively, operators should bear in mind that concepts of digital rights are an emotive issue for customers and that national security considerations are rising in importance.
The picture is further complicated by the fact that the nature and scale of security concerns vary for different customers and stakeholders, such as consumer, enterprise and government.
At the same time, changing definitions of privacy and security are creating new responsibilities for the sector. In response, operators need to work closely with governments to define clearly their responsibilities regarding content and data, such as anti-terrorism measures and content for children.
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10Adaptive Mobile, "Mobile Trust & Security Barometer — US," September 2011 (survey consists of online interviews with 2,000 smartphone users).