Survey: Users prefer tablets over PCs

Here’s another potential sign that Apple’s iPad and other tablets may soon become a replacement for laptops: 

Ever since Apple’s popular iPad first debuted in 2010, many observers have pointed to slumping PC sales and rising tablet adoption as evidence of the end of the PC era.

However, a common rebuttal has been that tablets are popular for consuming media — i.e., browsing the web, watching videos, reading emails, etc. — but won’t replace PCs for actual productive work, such as typing and editing documents.

But that could be starting to change, says a new survey recently released by Perion Network.

Not surprisingly, tablets users use their devices regularly to send and receive emails. Among the 4,400 iPad owners polled, 90% said using the gadget for email was important.

What was interesting about the survey, though, is that iPad owners now say the tablet is their favorite device for reading and writing emails, beating out PCs and smartphones.

For reading emails, 55% of respondents said the tablet was their preferred devices, compared to 32% for PCs and 10% for smartphones. Just under half (48%) prefer to write emails on tablets, too, compared to 41% for PCs and 9% for smartphones.

What’s more, 31% said the iPad is the only personal device they use for email.

Tablet security keys

While tablets haven’t replaced traditional computers in most businesses, the survey shows the number of people who will want a tablet to use for work is increasing.

As a result, more companies are buying tablets for users or allowing them to be brought in as part of a BYOD program.

And that means IT will have to put more thought into how to keep tablets secure. Whether the company is buying tablets or IT is choosing which devices to support, here are five key security features to consider requiring:

  1. Encryption – Encrypting data will prevent people who get their hands on lost or stolen devices from accessing any sensitive data.
  2. Remote wipe – Another way to prevent access to that data: Have the device wiped once it’s lost or stolen. Many applications combine remote wipe with other useful features, such as auto-lock and location tracking.
  3. Disabled features – Some organizations may want to disable certain tablet features that could be used to leak sensitive data — including, for example, USB ports, cameras and SD card slots.
  4. Remote data storage – One security method employed by many organizations is using applications that store data on the network and access it remotely with a secure connection — rather than storing data on the device itself.
  5. Blocked applications – Mobile malware often gets on a device because users aren’t careful about what apps they install. Also, some legitimate apps may share device data in a way companies aren’t comfortable with. Therefore, it might be a good idea to have a way to block what apps users install.