A new report from research firm Gartner found that the mobile communication device market continued to surge in the first quarter of 2011, with smartphones representing a growing portion of mobile sales.
According to the report, 427.8 million mobile devices were sold in the first quarter. Of those, smartphones represented nearly a quarter – 23.6 percent – of overall sales. As these figures suggests, both consumers and businesses are updating their basic mobile devices in favor of more high-tech alternatives.
"Smartphones accounted for 23.6 percent of overall sales in the first quarter of 2011, an increase of 85 percent year-on-year," said Gartner principal research analyst Roberta Cozza in a statement. "This share could have been even higher, but manufacturers announced a number of high-profile devices during the first quarter of 2011 that would not ship until the second quarter of 2011."
As smartphone sales continue to rise, it is increasingly important that businesses of all sizes incorporate these devices into their data protection policies. While many businesses distribute smart mobile devices to some employees, many are using their own smartphones to access corporate information and perform business tasks.
Additionally, as smartphones become more popular, cybercriminals are increasingly targeting the devices with malware and viruses. In the past, this type of activity was typically reserved for PCs and data centers. But recent studies have found a surge in smartphone-specific malware. According to a new report by Juniper, mobile malware increased 250 percent between 2009 and 2010. Malware targeting Google's Android – the fastest-growing mobile operating system, according to Gartner – has increased by 400 percent since last summer.
Undoubtedly, smartphones have the potential to increase productivity among employees. However, they can also create data security concerns as well. Easily lost or stolen, businesses must be prepared to address the vulnerabilities of smartphones, as well as tablets, by putting policies and security measures in place to ensure information accessed is protected.