2016 Daily SMS Mobile Usage Statistics

It’s official—mobile use is now prevalent throughout internet users and businesses. Most people would respond to this statement with, “I could’ve told you that,” but what we’re still learning is how people interact with these mobile devices, and how they can best used to service businesses effectively and securely.

Analysts and companies of all shapes and sizes have released statistics about developments in mobile use this past year, and particularly, how companies have grown to use SMS. Here are some of the most impressive findings.

Mobile use is so big, the world starts to use these devices the moment we wake up.

According to ExpressPigeon, over half of users grab their smartphones immediately after waking up. This is just one of the ways we’ve grown to interact with our mobile devices more as time has gone by.

These mobile usage statistics indicate that mobile use is growing in new ways—especially when using SMS.

  • According to Nielsen, SMS is the most used data service in the world.
  • According to MBA online, more than 4.2 billion people are texting worldwide.
  • According to the Pew Research Center, 81% of Americans text regularly and 97% of adults text weekly.
  • According to CTIA, 6 billion SMS messages are sent each day in the US, over 180 billion are sent each month, and 2.27 trillion are sent each year.
  • According to Portio Research, the world will send 8.3 trillion SMS messages this year alone – 23 billion per day or almost 16 million per minute.
  • According to Statistic Brain, the number of SMS messages sent monthly increased by more than 7,700% over the last decade.

The reason that SMS messages are being sent at a faster speed across the globe—when it comes to communication effectiveness, they work.

  • According to Mobile Marketing Watch, SMS messages have a 98% open rate, while email only has a 20% open rate.
  • According to Velocify, SMS messages have a 45% response rate, as opposed to email which has a 6% response rate.

It’s clear that SMS is very influential for the general population’s overall use, but it’s not just personal use. Statistics show that businesses are starting to pay more attention to SMS as a reliable and secure communication source.

Most businesses think that their customers want support via SMS.

The most important communication for businesses isn’t always internal. Sometimes it’s communication with customers, and data shows that businesses are starting to make the move to customer communication via SMS message.

  • According to ICMI, 79% of companies believe customers want SMS support, and 1 in 5 customers is just as likely to prefer a text message from a business to a phone call.
  • According to Dimension Data, 38% of contact centers currently use SMS, and23% have plans to implement in the next 12 months.
  • According to Forrester & ContactBabel, SMS text decreases the price of a customer service call from $6-$20 call to pennies per session.

Customer service isn’t the only use—businesses are starting to see the benefits to SMS message for internal use, as the response rate is so much higher.

  • According to eWeek, 80% of people are currently using texting for business.
  • According to eWeek, over one-third of business professional say they can’t go 10 minutes without responding to an SMS message.
  • According to Loyalty 360, 20% of financial services companies use SMS to ensure business continuity and add to their multichannel capabilities.
  • According to Vitiello Communications Group, nearly 70% of employees think their companies should us SMS to communicate with employees, and 86% say it should not just be reserved for customer communication.

These statistics show that mobile use isn’t just here to say, but that it’s growth is changing the way businesses are communicating securely and reliably both internally and with customers.

SMSEagle is Hardware SMS gateway to send and receive SMS text messages. To find out how we can help you reach your customers, check out our online store.

 

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Megan has been writing about enterprise technology, data, infosecurity and environmental technology for several years. Tweet her @MeganRoseM, or check out her blog: www.meganmorreale.com.

6 reasons why texting works better than app push notifications

There are plenty of people, perhaps even you, who believe that an app is the answer to every company’s communication challenges.

It’s true that apps are generally easy to find and install. Since more people are using mobile devices, some as a prime source of communication instead of a desktop or a laptop, an app isn’t a bad way to access information without visiting your device’s browser.

Plus, ‘push’ notifications from some apps make it easy to provide you the exact info you need rather than having to search it out.

However, there’s also another digital tool that’s even easier to work with: the text message.

Some have said that SMS has served its purpose and is past its prime, but texting continues to be a popular way of interacting. Here’s why:

  • You can respond. Push notifications are one-way messages sent to everyone who has signed up through an app. If you want to respond or have further questions, you must find contact info through your app or a company site, and then send an email, a voice mail or even a text. With texts you can always respond and even have a conversation.
  • Access to larger audiences. Not everyone who is a fan of a particular company or product will download its official app, or even has the right type of phone to do so. But just about everyone has text capabilities on their mobile devices. Businesses wanting to connect with more subscribers and potential customers can easily send texts rather than cultivating the smaller number of app subscribers.
  • Easy to create multiple lists and manage multiple campaigns. Companies that send out mass texts can use texting programs to segment different audiences, often by different topics, demographic info or interests. But with push notifications, every subscriber gets the same message, although every end-user can configure how they’re displayed.
  • Texting is inexpensive. Texting is one of the more affordable ways to contact customers. You may have to pay extra if you create MMS (multimedia messages with audio, video or photo attachments) or buy short codes, which are words and numbers customers can use to respond to you. In comparison, an app can be a significant financial investment for your company. Whether you’re building one from the ground up or a using a third-party, the process takes weeks or even months of design and testing time.
  • Easy sign-up. To subscribe to a business text list requires only one opt-in, where you inform the company that you want to start receiving their messages. Push notifications, on the other hand, require installing the app, customizing it to sign up for apps, and sometimes adding other security steps such as an authentication passcode.
  • Universal compatibility. Texting works worldwide, or at least anywhere you can access a mobile network. Apps may have certain restrictions or areas where notifications may not work.

Overall, app notifications make it easy to connect to mobile users. But in terms of person-to-person communication, texting still remains champion.

 

Joe Butler writes about personal finances and the modern retail experience. He loves the idea of mobile coupons, since he frequently forgets the paper ones at home.
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5 Security Experts on Why IT Leaders Need to Start Automating

Automation has been cited as the next big thing for IT leaders looking to secure their communications in all types of cloud environments—but leadership knows the challenges they face in doing so.

Answering to a Network World survey, 47% of respondents claim that it is difficult to monitor network behavior from end-to-end, and 41% say these security operations have difficulties that arise from cloud computing.

The main problem with not automating security operations is scalability and the difficulty in setting up these systems. But it’s necessary—it’s impossible to keep up with the increasing pace, limited cybersecurity, and network operations personnel, all while managing network security operations on a box-by-box, or CLI-by-CLI basis.

But don’t take our word for it. These five security experts have driven deep into the world of network security, and have their own reasons for passing along advice to IT leaders to start automating security processes today.

Security Experts and their Reasons for Encouraging IT Leaders to Automate

According to the Enterprise Security Group (ESG) 63% of networking and cybersecurity professionals working at enterprise organizations (more than 1,000 employees) believe network security operations is more difficult today than it was two years ago.

The bottom line – the main roadblock standing in the way of IT leaders and automated security process is difficulty. Here’s why you should take the plunge despite the challenges.

Jon Oltsik, ESG Senior Principal Analyst and Founder of the Firm’s Cybersecurity Service

Oltsik knows the scalability problems that security leadership faces, even though leadership knows the risk they’re taking without it. He cites a survey of 150 IT professionals, where 31% of respondents say automation is “critical” to address future IT initiatives, while 58% claim it is “very important” to address future IT initiatives.

Because of the recognition of its importance, the technology industry is listening – Companies like Cisco, Fortinet, Check Point, and more have all introduced solutions that will assist security network operations teams in automation and visibility of their networks. His advice to leadership is to adopt these technologies:

“Since relying on people and manual processes can’t scale or keep organizations secure, CISOs and network operations managers should assess where they are in the network security operations automation transition as soon as possible, making sure to look into their people, processes and technologies.

Once shortcomings and bottlenecks are discovered, large organizations should develop a plan to address these areas and institute network security operations automation projects, phasing in capabilities over the next few years.” Jon Oltsik

Stephanie Tayengco, SVP of Operations, Logicworks

Tayengco is a proponent for automation, but automation the right way in the face of risk. Her bottom line—you need to get rid of as much manual work as possible to stay secure.

According her, it’s important to automate infrastructure buildout first, continually check instances across the environment, fully automate deployments, include automated security monitoring in those deployments, and finally, prepare for the future of automation.

“Ninety-five percent of all security incidents involve human error, according to IBM’s 2014 Cyber Security Intelligence Index.

This year alone, enterprises will spend $8 billion on cyber security, but these initiatives are often useless in preventing an engineer from misconfiguring a firewall or forgetting to patch a security vulnerability on a new server. Manual work is risk, and manual security work is a disaster waiting to happen.” – Stephanie Tayengco

Gabby Nizri, CEO, Ayehu

Nizri is worried about the rising number of security breaches. According to the ISACA 2015 Global Cybersecurity Status Report, 781 publicized cyber security breaches resulted in 169 million personal records being exposed.

Well-known companies like BlueCross, Harvard and Target were involved, making it clear that even the most sophisticated and well-funded security departments aren’t safe. Even so, only 38% of organizations across the globe can confidently say they are prepared to handle a sophisticated cyber-attack. Because of this, Nizri urges you to automate.

“Simply put, IT personnel are no match for such intensive, sustained attacks. Not only are humans incapable of keeping up with the sheer volume of incoming threats, but their ability to make quick and highly-impactful decisions to manually address such an attack is equally inefficient.

This is why automation is becoming such a powerful and effective component of cyber security incident response. To combat the onslaught of incoming threats, organizations must employ an army of equivalent strength and sophistication.” – Gabby Nizri

Danelle Au, VP of Strategy and Marketing at SafeBreach

Automation isn’t all about just avoiding mistakes. Au cites instances where automation makes an IT department more agile, and improves processes such as application delivery.

For the private cloud environment, applications and desktops are being virtualized at an faster than ever before. According to Au, As the number of virtual machines (VMs) increases, automation and orchestration is no longer a “nice to have.”

“The ability to translate complex business and organization goals into a set of automated data center workflows is critical to not slowing down the application delivery process. It is also an essential part of making compliance and security requirements a lot easier to manage in a very dynamic environment.

To fully realize the promise of private clouds or software defined data centers (as VMware defines it), the traditional IT infrastructure — in particular network security — needs to transform into agile and adaptive end-to-end automated processes.” – Danielle Au

Brian Dye, VP of Intel Security Group

A recent ESG study noted that 46% of organizations said they have a “problematic shortage” of cybersecurity skills—up from 28% just a year ago. That means the development of these skills in IT personnel isn’t improving at a rate needed to keep up with threats.

One-third of those respondents said their biggest gap was with cloud security specialists. According to Dye, this is the reason security automation is important, as well for working with SDN technologies and responding to breaches.

“As organizations explore software defined networking (SDN), they see a need for more automation skills, as security policy must co-exist with the orchestration to fully exploit an SDN environment. These skills become especially important as virtualization expands beyond servers and into networks and storage.” – Brian Dye

Network security automation is important for many reasons – the risks associated with manual processes, adaptation to new technologies, the agility of the cloud, and the race to keep up the skills needed in personnel to use new emerging technologies.

Creating the proper mix of skillsets, automation and processes will provide IT leaders with the security confidence they need moving forward.

SMSEagle is Hardware SMS gateway to send and receive SMS text messages. To find out how we can help support your network security program, check out our online store.

 

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Megan has been writing about enterprise technology, data, infosecurity and environmental technology for several years. Tweet her @MeganRoseM, or check out her blog: www.meganmorreale.com

How SMS Remains Relevant in Spite of Emerging Tech

In 1992, the first Short Message Service (SMS) simply read “Merry Christmas”. More than 20 years later, texting via SMS has lost none of its purpose, despite the rise of multimedia messaging service (MMS), the smartphone in 2010, subsequent over the top (OTT) messaging apps and of course, social media solutions such as Facebook. Whether for personal or business use, SMS usage has continued unabated, which is impressive for such ‘outdated technology’ that was originally designed for Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) networks. As 5G approaches, SMS remains.

When technology moves so fast, how has SMS remained so popular? How can companies capitalise on it to improve internal processes, customer services and other activities?

Trivial Update or Important?

Today, if dining in a local restaurant, we’re treated to a variety of repetitive whistles, chirps and other alerts from smartphones in the vicinity, most of which are ignored by their owners. The reason for this is simple; these alerts typically originate from messaging apps, which cost the sender nothing and as a result rarely require an instant response. An SMS alert is quite different and, while costs vary according to monthly subscription tariffs, there’s a cost involved. The result? Most will quickly read the message and send a response if necessary. In fact, marketing professionals are well aware of this fact, that SMS has the highest engagement rate of all messaging options, with 90 per cent of all SMS messages read within three minutes.

You’re probably wondering, why SMS? Why not call the person directly? Of course, that’s an option but if a group of people are involved, or you’re simply sending a short greeting or confirmation that you’ll arrive soon, isn’t SMS more convenient?

SMS vs. OTP Apps

When compared with Skype, Facebook or other messaging solutions, SMS has several other advantages. SMS bundles are typically included as part of a service plan and are directly linked to your mobile phone. In other words, if you use a mobile, you have SMS functionality without having to subscribe or join another service. You don’t have to invite contacts or accept invitations to communicate.

Not everyone has a smartphone so use of SMS ensures that your contact will receive your message regardless of phone type. The same isn’t true of OTP apps, which relies on high-speed internet to work. If you lose your 3G signal, voice and indeed SMS are still possible.

In fact, in an emergency situation such as a blackout, or during times where mobile traffic is very high (New Year’s Eve, for example), an SMS is typically the best solution as it’s queued in the short message service centre (SMSC) and will be delivered as soon as the bandwidth is available. An SMS text, being limited to 160 characters, takes much less bandwidth than a voice call so is more likely to be processed quicker. Compare that with the frustration of repeatedly dialing and receiving no response.

P2P and A2P

SMS is broken into two distinct types, namely person to person (P2P) and application to person (A2P). P2P is self-explanatory and can include voting  for reality TV shows and entering competitions but A2P is primarily used in the business world and is a growing market, having been adopted by many industry areas and repurposed to aid several business processes including but not limited to:

  1. Customer Security – A2P is used by companies as part of a two-step or two-factor authentication (2FA) process when accessing services that are considered a viable target for hackers. The process typically involved a standard login to a service. Then, as the second step, a passcode is sent to the user’s phone by SMS. The user then enters the passcode and is able to access the service. Banks, other financial service providers and organisations such as Google, Facebook and Hootsuite also protect their customer accounts by combining geolocation detection with SMS transmission, alerting users that their account has been accessed from a suspicious location.
  2. IT and risk management – IT teams may not work 24 hours a day but your business network may well rely on services that require 100 per cent uptime, such as support ticket management or e-commerce solutions. Devices that incorporate a mobile SIM card can alert you when internet connectivity has failed and reduce required response times considerably.
  3. Marketing – Due the high engagement rate mentioned previously, digital marketers with a ‘mobile first’ strategy will include SMS as a vital part of their communication with customers.
  4. Emergency alerts – Emergency services are considering the addition of SMS and in hospitals, paging systems based on SMS technology are commonly employed. The reason is of course based on redundancy, when all else fails, SMS is an excellent and affordable solution.

In conclusion, advancing technology has made smartphones and global collaboration over broadband a reality but despite all this progress, SMS still has a viable role to play in connecting them. While email, OTP apps, VoIP are all useful, they rely on the internet. Without it, SMS and standard voice communication are the only options and are extremely unlikely to become obsolete in the foreseeable future.

 

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Michael O’Dwyer is a Hong Kong-based business and technology journalist, independent consultant and writer whose stories have appeared on Forbes.com, The Street, IBM’s Midsize Insider, HP’S Pulse of IT, Dell’s Tech Page One and other IT portals, typically covering areas where business and technology intersect. He writes for both US and UK audiences and acts as a technology and open source advocate in his personal and professional activities. Twitter: @MJODWYERHK

 

3 Secret Habits of Really Effective Network Security Programs

Effective network security programs require more than just one layer of protection if one solution fails, you still have others guarding your company and its data from all types of network attacks.

There are best practices that set the highly effective network security programs apart from the rest.

A recent survey conducted by ReRez Research, and commissioned by Infoblox, shows that when IT departments are segmented by security success factors, there are certain best practices that rise to the top.

The study was comprised of 200 large organizations, and shows how certain habits differed between organizations with top-tier network security programs and everyone else.

These alterations in behavior matter, as breaches in security can cost organizations large fees in both recovery and damages.

Analysts estimate the cost of a typical unplanned network outage now tops $740,000. Protecting the network – from problems like breaches, outages and poor performance – is crucial for organizations. – Infoblox 2016 Network Protection Survey

Education is the first place you should start. Your network security awareness program is probably following a one-year plan, which isn’t the best practice. Programs that follow 90-day plans are more effective, and focus on three topics simultaneously throughout those 90 days.

After your awareness program is in place, start thinking about your network security structure in a different way.

Below are the three secrets of the most highly effective network security programs.

1. Make Sure there is Cooperation Between the Network, Security and Application Teams

Siloing the various teams in your department can stifle your security activities, and keep you from reaching your goals. Network operations staff, the security staff and the application teams should all be communicating fluidly, with 100% of top-tier organizations in the survey citing this as a best practice.

High performing organizations are 9x more likely than others to be using integrated visibility tools already, and they’re 4x as likely to be using integrated security tools in conjunction.

Communication becomes paramount when it comes to reporting. One key factor in running a successful network security program is being able to prove that success. The only way to do so is to collect metrics that reflect this success across the organization.

2. Utilize DNS/DHCP Data to it’s Full Potential

This is a slowly growing but serious differentiator between effective and mediocre security departments. According to the survey, close to half of top-tier organizations use DNS/DHCP data to discover other new devices, compared to zero other contenders.

Not only are they tracking and utilizing the data, but they’re 3x as likely to use DNS logs for security purposes.

3. Commit to the Continual Use of Intelligence

The most successful organizations have a mechanism in place that forces them to commit to security intelligence. They’re 6x as likely to have deployed an SIEM, and 4x as likely to invest in machine-readable threat intelligence.

In addition to intelligence commitment, they’re 6x as likely to use automated tools that alert them to new devices appearing on the network.

Keep in mind some of these changes when building your network security program certain best practices could not only set you apart from the rest, but save your organization it’s reputation, and hundreds of thousands in damages.

SMSEagle is Hardware SMS gateway to send and receive SMS text messages. To find out how we can help support your network security program, check out our online store.

 

meganmorreale-headshot

Megan has been writing about enterprise technology, data, infosecurity and environmental technology for several years. Tweet her @MeganRoseM, or check out her blog: www.meganmorreale.com.