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Security: The way for businesses to play the app game

Parvinder Walia, Director of Sales and Marketing for Asia-Pacific and Japan, ESET | Sept. 5, 2016
Recent hype surrounding Pokémon GO has also shed light on an oft-forgotten aspect of app development and user experience: security.

Parvinder Walia, Director of Sales and Marketing for Asia-Pacific and Japan, ESET
Parvinder Walia, Director of Sales and Marketing for Asia-Pacific and Japan, ESET

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

The rapid growth of digital and mobile in the Asia Pacific is no secret. According to eMarketer's Global Media Intelligence Report, the region currently boasts over one billion smartphone users, and is expected to add half a billion more by 2019. These smartphone users are doing more than taking calls and sending messages on their devices. For example, Yahoo's Flurry analytics show that mobile app usage in Asia has overtaken that of the US. In fact, users in Asia are far more likely to make purchases via mobile apps, with AppsFlyer's recent report showing that the monthly average purchase per app in Asia is US$10.65 compared to only US$8.68 in the US. 

Businesses have been hard-pressed to find the magic formula for a successful app in this crowded market. With the popularity of gaming apps in Asia - mobile users in the region spend a quarter of their mobile usage time on gaming apps - gamification and branded apps are ways for savvy businesses to leverage the growing trend of mobile and increase engagement with consumers.

There is no shortage of examples of game apps that have been popular in Asia. Runaway successes Angry Birds and Candy Crush have relied on a traditional but potent mix of simplicity and challenge to keep gamers hooked. On the other hand, the recent mania surrounding Pokémon GO is testament to the power of nostalgia. Nintendo and Niantic were able to use technology to fuse a well-loved title with players' imaginations through the usage of augmented reality.

However, the recent hype surrounding Pokémon GO has also shed light on an oft-forgotten aspect of app development and user experience: security.

Criminals around the world have been quick to capitalise on loopholes within the app, both physical and online. In the weeks since Pokémon GO's much heralded launch, reports have quickly surfaced about robbers using location tracking on the app to attack players. In the digital realm, ESET discovered a number of fake apps jumping on the trend, including a malicious lockscreen app.

While an argument can be made for greater consumer awareness and self-protection, businesses can certainly draw lessons from Pokémon GO to change the way they approach security.

Why security is important for businesses

There are a few reasons why businesses need to change their perspectives on security. Firstly, security is directly tied to user experience, which is a key differentiator in making or breaking any app. Stumbling into traffic and restricted areas has clearly not featured as a selling point for Pokémon GO. At the same time, hacks on any platform invariably result in tiresome outcomes such as loss of personal data or downtime on a game.

 

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