African professionals using more mobile devices, less security software

Report says that most business people feel they need communications technology to do their jobs

African business people are increasingly dependent on mobile devices but don't necessarily feel they need security software, according to a survey of 1,776 African professionals conducted by the Africa Business Panel and released Wednesday.

The African business community is rapidly adopting the use of mobile devices, according to the survey. Of those polled, 54 percent use laptops, 38 percent have tablets and 60 percent use smartphones while only 26 percent use desktop computers. Meanwhile, however, only 46 percent of tablet users, 44 percent of smartphone users and 87 percent of the laptop users have security software installed on their devices.

Though McAfee, Microsoft, Kaspersky and AVG/Grisoft software tops the list of security programs used by those respondents who do use security packages, more than 30 percent of the business people surveyed said they feel that having comprehensive security software is expensive or unnecessary. Other reasons given for not using security software are that it is too complicated or that it interferes with users online activities.

"Antivirus is a dynamic industry and those not using it risk compromising their systems," said the Computer Information Systems Specialist at Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Austin Odia. "Individuals risk compromising credit card and bank information when hacked."

Smartphone OSes including Apple's IOS and Android are not widely known to be targets for virus attacks, which is why some mobile users may feel they do not need antivirus software, Odia added.

"As for the cost being expensive, I disagree," Odia said. "The tablet or PC will cost from $500 and the antivirus is like $50 per year subscription. I do not think that is expensive at all."

The survey also found that of the those who have a smartphone, most use a Samsung device (30 percent), followed by Blackberry (22 percent), iPhone (19 percent) and a Nokia device (11 percent). HTC has a 6 percent market share among those polled, while Sony Ericsson has 2 percent. Fifty percent of the smartphones used by those polled are based on Android, 22 percent are based on Apple's iOS (iPhones), while Windows phones are used by 7 percent. Other devices are used by 21 percent of those polled.

About 87 percent of those surveyed said they are highly dependent on communication technology to carry out daily tasks, compared to 15 percent who said they are somewhat dependent on communications tech and to only 2 percent who said they were not dependent on the technology at all.

Most respondents expect a strong increase in the use of smartphones over the next few years. This view is backed up by an analysis Wednesday from Strategy Analytics that reports global smartphone shipments grew 45 percent annually to reach a record 251 million units in the third quarter of 2013. Samsung captured a 35 percent share of all smartphone shipments worldwide, followed by Apple, while Huawei jumped into third place in the rankings, according to the report.

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More about AppleEricsson AustraliaGrisoftHTCHuaweiKasperskyMcAfee AustraliaMicrosoftNokiaSamsungSonySony EricssonUnited Nations

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