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Study: iOS surpasses Android in enterprise usage

Twitter grows, Facebook declines, IE6 use remains steady, says Zscaler

By , Network World
May 10, 2012 03:50 PM ET

Network World - Consumerization trends in the enterprise shifted dramatically in the first quarter of 2012, with mobile devices running Apple's iOS operating system showing more activity in the workplace than those running Google's Android, as well as end users migrating from Facebook and toward Twitter.

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TECH DEBATE: iOS vs. Android in the enterprise

Zscaler ThreatlabZ, the research arm of SaaS security provider Zscaler, recently released data based on more than 200 billion first quarter transactions in its cloud, which serves global companies of all sizes. A transaction, as defined by Zscaler ThreatlabZ senior security researcher Mike Geide, occurs every time a file is accessed from a web server.

The data shows transactions originating from iOS devices increased steadily over the quarter, ending March with slightly more than 50% of mobile activity. Transactions from Android devices, meanwhile, dropped to 37% by the end of March. As recently as December 2011, Android and iOS devices were about equal at 47% of transactions among Zscaler's enterprise customers, Geide says, after Android had held the lead for most of 2011.

BlackBerry devices observed in Zscaler's study dropped from about 18% of January transactions to about 15% by the end of March.

Rising consumer use of iPhones and iPads may have contributed to this growth in transactions. Geide says that many of Zscaler's clients set up guest wireless networks, as more companies look to keep personal devices from choking their networks or presenting security risks.

Employees are more likely to connect to guest networks for personal transactions, Geide says. "You don't want to be using your 3G connection to stream Pandora on your iPhone because you're going to be eating a lot of bandwidth and paying Verizon a ton of money," Geide says.

Another contributing factor could be iPhone activity from actual guests using those guest networks. For example, Geide says visitors and patients in hospital waiting rooms are ignoring the magazine rack in favor of their smartphones and tablets connected to the guest network.

"We'll see tons of mobile traffic through that guest network because that's what everybody's doing in the waiting room," Geide says.

Other research has shown the iPhone users are prone to being more active on their smartphones than those using Android devices. Online data analytics firm Chitika monitors smartphone-specific activity on its advertising network, showing that iPhone users accounted for 67% of mobile traffic, while those using Android phones made up 28.7% at time of publishing.

"It is not surprising then that iOS device usage in the enterprise is also growing, from employees using their personal devices at work and from enterprises adopting a [bring your own device] for work policy," Geide says.

While the current free-for-all in enterprise mobility brought on by the growing BYOD trend was reflected in the consistently changing mobile statistics, employee social media use appears to have been affected by increasingly strict enterprise policies.

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