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Mobility: Balancing access against management

Sheila Lam | March 22, 2012
With a mobile penetration rate of over 200 percent, Hong Kong is an active and vibrant mobile market.

The bank uses iOS as the standardized platform for its mobile apps development and is standardizing its device support for internal staff to iOS devices. "The Apple-based platform is the right fit for us," said Todd Schofield, global head, enterprise mobility at Standard Chartered. "We can build functionalities into our own custom apps that allow people to do things on the go."

The bank has launched a pool of mobile apps, available for both existing and potential customers to download on the Apple's App Store. Breeze Hong Kong allows local customers to manage bank accounts with their iPhones or iPads. It's available also in three other countries--China, Malaysia and Singapore--each with its dedicated version that fits local currency and regulatory requirements. The bank also offers mortgage and property valuation services through Breeze Home.

"What we are doing with [iOS] is [aimed at] the next generation of banking," said Schofield. San Francisco-based Schofield leads a team to establish the bank's mobility strategies and policies--his team works closely with the Hong Kong IT team to localize Breeze, as well as to test and pilot other mobile apps.

Another app, iNeeds, was piloted and went live in Hong Kong. It's designed for relationship managers in consumer banking to identify and present different banking needs for customers, as well as to provide personalized financial planning services.

Besides serving external customers, Schofield's team also builds apps and set mobility policies for internal staff. While customers can download apps from Apple's App Store, Standard Chartered internal staff can also download internal apps through the SC AppCenter, where apps are posted and updated for employees.

These apps include FX Rate, which provides direct connection with the bank's internal foreign exchange system, to provide real-time and updated foreign exchange rates for traders. The Mobile Trade Port also allows traders to access the bank's trading system and approve transactions on the road.

To encourage its employees to adopt these apps, Standard Chartered has purchased 11,000 iPhones to support the bank's 80,000-plus staff. Schofield agreed the penetration rate is moderate, as they remain cautious in providing mobility. "We take the responsibility as custodians in managing the money of our customers very seriously," he said, "and our mobile services need to reflect that."

Rising mobile threats

Such caution is also shared by many. Symantec's study indicated that 54% of the respondents from Hong Kong view mobility as somewhat to extremely challenging and 37% identified mobile devices as one of the top three IT risks.

This concern is understandable with various reports indicating malware--particularly mobile malware--continue to grow. Juniper Network's 2011 Mobile Threat Report indicated mobile malware across all device platform, increased by 155% last year. The majority (63%) is spyware, which could be stealing data from corporate smartphones without the users' knowledge.


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