Don't Risk IT

Survey: 28% of U.S. Companies Have No Mobile Strategy. Make Them Your Clients

A surprising number of companies have no mobile strategy. If you're a mobile developer, take advantage of these opportunities, but make sure to practice good IT risk management.

Thursday, April 10, 2014/Categories: cyber-liability

Broadband and telecom news site Telecompetitor reports on a new survey that says more than a quarter of companies lag behind the times and don't have a mobile marketing strategy. This news means there's an opportunity for you to market to certain industries and find new clients in need of mobile apps and mobile-optimized webpages.

Medical companies are the least likely to have a mobile presence, while business services and retail companies are the most likely.

If you run a mobile marketing or development company, you might be in a good position to take advantage of this growing market. Let's go over some of the key issues you might see, including…

  • How to handle clients who are reluctant to invest in mobile tech.
  • What liabilities IT companies have when dealing with mobile tech.

Mobile Marketing: What to Do about Businesses that Are Mobile-Shy

Not every business will want a cross-platform, comprehensive mobile presence. In fact, it turns out that many aren't interested in mobile apps. Over half of the CIOs surveyed said their businesses did not have a mobile app, and they had no plans of having one in the next twelve months.

That's a bit of a downer for mobile developers. But it’s also an important reminder that many businesses simply don't see the benefits of mobile applications.

When talking with new clients about mobile tech, make sure you present them with a variety of options to fit the scale of their businesses. While you might suggest a mobile app, it may be more beneficial to optimize their website for mobile use and make sure their business is listed in mobile apps that index their industry.

What do you do about clients who are gung-ho about mobile tech? Read our post on risk management in the newest areas of mobile tech: "Your Clients Want Mobile Payments? Here's What to Tell Them."

What Liabilities Do Mobile Developers Have?

The quick answer: mobile developers have lots of liabilities. In fact, mobile tech is generally more risky than other IT solutions because of BYOD risks, the ease of theft, and other risks that come with handheld technology. (For more on mobile risk, see our article "Clients Getting New Devices? Help Them Make Smart Choices.") Here's a list of three main liabilities you need to know:

  • Data breach / identity theft lawsuits. After the Target fiasco, everyone is talking about data breaches. Mobile devices are especially susceptible to data breaches because they are used on non-secure networks (e.g., free Wi-Fi) and can easily be lost. Make sure to teach your clients the safest ways to use their mobile devices.
  • Third-party failures. Say you outsource part of a mobile app. What added liability do you have? This often comes up with data management or payment processes. If you write an app for a client and use a third-party web service to handle the secure payments, you can still be liable for a data breach that happens at the third party. Clients can (and do) sue mobile developers over flaws from the third-party products incorporated in a mobile app.
  • Slow sales and disappointing results. A client might presume too much of their new mobile-optimized website and mobile app, expecting it to drastically increase their business. Slow sales and disappointing revenue numbers can lead to lawsuits in which your client claims you delivered a faulty product.

The liabilities listed above are your professional liabilities as a mobile developer, which can be covered by E&O Insurance. IT Errors and Omissions Insurance pays for lawsuits over mobile data breaches, poor results after a mobile marketing campaign, and other IT liabilities

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