Rarely do we see such a huge mobile app release as last week’s Pokémon Go, which has steadily crept across the globe with ever increasing news and excitement.

My own household was impacted straight away when I discovered my son had switched his iTunes account to the US so that he could download the app in advance of the UK iTunes store release and I started to see purchase notifications of PokéCoins appear in my inbox. Nintendo’s stock jumped by 50 per cent, boosting its market value from £13bn to £32bn almost overnight; such was the scale of the phenomenon.

Data drain is unlikely to be the biggest issue

At Wandera, we were also looking at the impact of this new app on our customers’ devices. Sure enough, we started to see an increase in users running the game over their enterprise data plans. The good news is it doesn’t seem to actually use too much data per day with a small sub-2Mb per day pattern showing up at the moment. We take our hats off to the developers for keeping the data transactions small and lightweight. I am thrilled to see this app takes the straight-up, honest approach of ‘in-app’ purchase instead of the “ad-supported” which we’ve seen time and time again which can be potentially a huge drain on your data-plans and device resources (and is open to abuse). pokemon-go-depression-06

Watch your employee productivity plummet

What also became quickly apparent, however, is the potential for productivity-drain with this new craze and I was reminded the other morning by reading a short article entitled Employees can’t stop playing Pokemon Go at work, so Boeing had to ban it (I don’t know if that is true or not. It’s on the internet so it must be true). However, I was left wondering. So, taking a very quick look at the anonymous statistics across our service, it became very quickly apparent that “PokéGo’ing” (that’s a new phrase I am coining) doesn’t stop when you get to the office. It builds reasonably steadily from about 8am onwards with the peek at lunchtime before taking a small dip prior it’s daily peek at 5pm. From then on it’s a steady decline until I can only guess ‘players’ get tired and pass-out. Remember these are enterprise users with enterprise devices. I guess it’s true, even businessmen and women like to play on their smartphones. So our initial evidence says that this craze has all the hallmarks of earning the “productivity-drain” moniker. Most of our customers already protect themselves against this modern challenge but I wondered exactly how Boeing was going to do that. They could protect themselves when the device is connected to their Wi-Fi network but our stats show a use-pattern via the traffic over cellular data…. hmmm. There are too many variables here to second guess their strategy but it beautifully illustrates the complexity of mobile data and usage management. And don’t get me started on the cost to your company wallet if this craze is left unabated on devices that are roaming.

Security issues with Pokemon Go

I should finish up also by gently alluding to the security concerns becoming apparent around this phenomenon. As with any successful app, there are people motivated to try and cash-in and we are starting to see fake versions of the app show up across the globe. Remember, third party app stores are not a good resource for your apps and sure enough this is a gateway for apps just pretending to be Pokémon Go. Just because it says it’s Pokémon Go and has the icon, doesn’t mean it is. Of course you won’t really know until you’ve started using it on your device. pokemon

For example, an Android app posing as a guide for Pokemon GO players was discovered rooting devices and secretly installing adware and unwanted apps on the user’s smartphone. Over 500,000 users downloaded and installed the app named Guide for Pokémon Go from the official Google Play Store, which resulted in at least 6,000 users having their phones rooted and infected by malware.


What can you do

As a business, it’s important to provide employees with as much guidance as possible, so they know how to recognise fake and legitimate apps when they are using their corporate devices. But there is only so far education will get you. Whether, it’s a company-owned or a BYOD device, a certain level of control on what is downloaded and installed by the use can go a long way in eliminating a security threat to the enterprise. Too many companies don’t take action until the device has been infected and the data breach has occurred. According to Wandera’s research, the cost of remedying a security breach is on average more than three times the amount being spent on prevention. Deploying a solution that allows you to block usage or prevent installation of dangerous apps like these is the best way to manage the security risks, productivity drain and potential data overage charges that have followed Pokémon Go into the business world. Enjoy Pokémon Go responsibly. [text-blocks id=”threat-advisories”]