Pokémon GO or No Go? Mobile Games May Pose More Risks to Companies beyond Employee Distraction
Many mobile games can access sensitive functions and data on employer-issued devices including SMS, social networking, location services & tracking and calendar access
Augmented reality, fueled most recently by the Pokémon GO sensation, and virtual reality gaming opportunities are beginning to really open up on mobile platforms. According to IDC, the number of smartphone and tablet gamers should increase to more than 1.9 billion in 2020. Millions of mobile device users are predicted to play these types of games within a few years, and the workplace is not immune. According to a new report, “It’s Not All Fun and Games: A BYOD Reality Check for Companies”, many of these popular apps could violate corporate risk policies.
“Some employees care about data security and privacy when they curate the apps they download to their mobile phones, but many don’t,” said Maureen Polte, Vice President of Product Management at Flexera Software. “When those phones are Bring Your Own Device, poor employee choices suddenly impact corporate risk. That is why Application Readiness automation – commonly used by companies to test their enterprise applications – must be extended to mobile apps, so CIOs can have a firm understanding of which ones violate their BYOD policies.”
The report found that of the almost 60 popular Apple iOS mobile games tested:
- 73 percent, including Angry Birds, AR Defender 2, Bejeweled Classic, Bubble Shooter, Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Color Switch, Game of War, Mobile Strike, Pokémon GO and Slither, support Location Services & Tracking.
- 68 percent, including Angry Birds, Bejeweled Classic, Bubble Shooter, Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Color Switch, Game of War, Mobile Strike and Slither, support Social Networking.
- 58 percent, including Angry Birds, Bejeweled Classic, Bubble Shooter, Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Color Switch and Slither, support Calendar Access.
- 54 percent, including Angry Birds, AR Defender 2, Bejeweled Classic, Bubble Shooter, Color Switch and Slither, support SMS.
“Unfortunately, not all mobile app developers are trustworthy,” added Polte. “CIOs must have a centralised, automated and repeatable Application Readiness process to identify and test those apps to determine what they do, and whether they comply or collide with an organisation’s BYOD policies.
To compile the report, Flexera Software identified almost 60 widely used gaming applications, representing a small sampling of those that can be found in the Apple App Store and that could easily be downloaded by employees to a corporate-issued or BYOD device. These apps were tested using AdminStudio Mac® and Mobile, an Application Readiness solution that helps organisations identify, manage, track and report on mobile apps, simplify mobile application management, reduce mobile app risk, and address the rapidly growing demand for mobile apps in the enterprise.