Pokemon GO – what does it mean for your organisation?

Pokemon GO
(Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons)

Any trend that involves a technology platform and dramatically shifts consumer behaviour rapidly, needs to be taken seriously by corporate organisations.  With the launch and feverish consumption of Pokemon GO, Nintendo’s stock price more than doubled inside two weeks and is now more valuable than Sony.  As easy as that occurred, the market reacted a few days later, once the growth stopped accelerating.  Regardless of company value, we see a new technology platform being experienced at scale (augmented reality) and a novelty brand that compels its users to chase it (Pokemon).  A new frontier of usage, behaviour and data flow is now upon us – which two weeks ago, you didn’t know was coming.

Users – AKA your employees – in choosing to play this free and available app are now effectively “walking on Mars” from an IT threat landscape point of view.  They are using a technology frontier built on mapping user movements, preferences and locations, whilst engaging with other applications that become a part of that environment – location and tracking services spring up daily and immediately go to the top of the App store.

How does this affect your organisation?  Well let’s start and end with the most basic attribute.  Pokemon GO is played on your employees’ devices.  For most organisations, devices which are increasingly used as crucial tools of business.  We communicate on business and personal email, we share corporate documents and we carry organisational IP on them.  And we do all of this in ways which represent the paths of least resistance.  Not the paths of strongest security that will protect that IP which we are sending, receiving and hoarding.

The question is, when user behaviour changes so rapidly, does your business have people, process and technology protocols in place which will hold firm in the grip of such change?  Or will you be exposed to a download-fest of Apps, sharing your location, and allowing anything to encroach on your device which allows you to find and catch Pokemon quicker.  It begs the question, do you really ‘own and control’ your corporate IP on the device?  Or is the device now open to influence from the fastest growing app of all time.  At least till next month…..

Rest assured, there are criminal organisations out there loving those crazy characters and rubbing their hands at how fast Pokemon GO is transforming consumer usage across the world.  My advice? Let them play the game, but secure the device first.  At Intalock, we can help with any Cyber Security challenge you are faced with, as long as it’s not meeting you at Martin Place or Queen St Mall to try and catch an Arceus.


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