Enterprise Users Prefer iOS Over Android; Twitter Over Facebook [Study]

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Apple’s iOS has gone past Google’s Android in enterprise usage, according to a recent study by Zscaler ThreatlabZ, the research arm of SaaS security provider Zscaler. The data is 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 that transactions done from iOS devices were slightly more than 50% of total mobile activity, while the transactions made from Android devices had dropped to 37% by the end of March. According to Mike Geide for the better part of 2011 it was Android who held the lead but iOS steadily caught up with it and recently in December both had about 47% transactions from Zscaler’s enterprise customers.

iOS dominates Android in Enterprise Usage.

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BlackBerry devices observed inZscaler’s study experienced a slight decline as it dropped from 18% in January to 15% by the end of March. It is more than likely that the rising number of Apple iPhones and iPads is contributing to this growth in transactions. But according to Geide there are some other factors at work as well. Let’s have a closer look at them.

  • 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.
  • 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.

“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,We’ll see tons of mobile traffic through that guest network because that’s what everybody’s doing in the waiting room”

Apart from these factors, another research from Online data analytics firm Chitika shows that smartphone-specific activity on its advertising network accounted for 67% of mobile traffic from iPhone users, while those using Android phones made up 28.7%.

Some would argue that social media usage by employees also contributes to such data but the fact is that the increasingly strict enterprise policies have started to prevent usage of social media in corporate environments. Zscaler’s cloud has seen Facebook transactions decline from 52.4% of all transactions in its Web Apps category in the first quarter of 2011 to 41.07% in the quarter ending this March. The study shows that the number of organizations blocking access to social networking grew from 2.46% of its user base in January to 3.99% in March, and that gives you a more clear picture of why social media usage is not such a big factor in this study.

But interestingly the study also reveals that Twitter transactions increased from 6.39% to 7.44%. Geide aptly puts forward the possible reasons for this increase in Twitter activity:

“While Twitter is still under the umbrella of social networks and social media, Twitter itself can, in some ways, be explained as a micro-blog, so it’s still a way of exchanging information, where Facebook may have the perception as a platform for potentially goofing off. You can install games and do a variety of things on Facebook that you wouldn’t be able to do on Twitter.” – Mike Geide.

And he goes on to add that security is another reason for social media usage decline in enterprise environment, and the fact that Twitter when compared to Facebook is considered slightly more secure also helped Twitter gain a few points.  In the study, transactions on LinkedIn saw a slight decline, from 1.55% to 1.45% over the quarter.

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Mainly these statistics highlighted the fact that iOS is gaining momentum over Android, at least in the enterprise user scenario and that social media’s usage is now being curbed by organizations by implementing strict no-usage policies.

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