Survey Finds SMBs Leaving Mobile Data, Devices Unprotected


October 27, 2014 • Published by


ControlScan recently released a new report detailing its latest research findings on mobile technology adoption among SMBs. The report, Mobile at the Point of Sale: How SMBs are Adopting Mobile Devices to Accept Card-Present Payments, is based on input from more than 6,000 U.S.-based SMBs responding to the company’s 2014 Mobile Payment Acceptance Survey.

A primary goal of the 2014 Mobile Payment Acceptance Survey was to better understand mobile SMBs’ awareness and attitudes surrounding mobile device and data security: What data are they commonly inputting, transferring and/or storing on mobile devices? Are they taking any active measures to protect this data and their devices in general? Do they have any specific issues or concerns when it comes to secure mobile payment acceptance?

The survey found that overall, merchants using a mobile device to accept card-present payments show little concern about the security of the data they work with or of the device itself. The least of their concerns appears to be the security of the payment card data being transmitted via mobile: 63% say they are “not at all concerned.” And, when asked if their level of concern had changed over time, 82% report that they “feel the same as this time last year.”

The business categories from which respondents show the most concern about mobile payment security are Healthcare (50% are at least “somewhat concerned”) and Entertainment (56% are at least “somewhat concerned”). While 69% of respondents from these two groups say they regularly install updates and patches to better secure their mobile devices, far fewer have considered utilizing anti-virus or anti-malware solutions.

Personal Services and Restaurant/Hospitality businesses express the least amount of concern related to mobile payment security (respectively, 68% and 70% are “not at all concerned”). These businesses are also less likely to install updates and patches than their more-concerned counterparts. On a positive note, 60% of those in Restaurant/Hospitality have installed anti-virus or anti-malware solutions.

The lack of concern and action steps surrounding mobile payment security is a major issue, because a large percentage of mobile SMBs (40% of those ControlScan surveyed) have no dedicated IT support. Recent virus and malware activity indicates that cyber criminals are seeking and discovering ways to specifically exploit mobile devices.

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