An increasing number of companies are opening corporate networks and data to consumer mobile technology. The resulting trend, referred to as the consumerisation of enterprise mobility, assumes even more disruptive connotations when the employees are allowed to use their own smartphones and tablets at work.
Consumer technology is convenient, easy to learn, and fun to use. However, consumer technology is generally not as secure or manageable as is required by the enterprise. Consumer technology brings real business value in terms of productivity and business agility. However, the lack of a strategic approach to the consumerisation of IT creates security risks, financial exposure, and a management nightmare. Rather than resist it, organisations should embrace consumerisation to unlock its business potential. However, organisations need to consider the security and management capabilities of each mobile platform.
New research from Trend Micro compares the ability of several different mobile platforms to meet the demands of use in the enterprise. The results of the research, carried out by Altimeter Group, Bloor Research and Trend Micro’s own specialists, clearly show that in the opinion of the researchers, BlackBerry 7.0 scored highest across the board, ahead of (in descending order) Apple iOS5, Windows Phone 7.5 and Google’s Android 2.3.
Platforms were each scored on several factors, including built-in security, application security, authentication, device wipe, device firewall, virtualisation, and many others.
Some highlights of the findings:
RIM — BlackBerry OS is the option of choice for the most stringent mobile roles. However, many features and protections that are commonly enabled or enforceable via the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) are not present on devices that are user-provisioned via BlackBerry Internet Services (BIS).
Apple — the iOS application architecture natively provides users much protection because all applications are sandboxed in a common memory environment. Security in iOS also extends to the physical attributes of the iPhone and iPad.
Microsoft — a reasonably robust and secure smartphone operating system, Windows Phone uses minimum privileges and isolation techniques to create individual process spaces. Apps are pre-approved by Microsoft and only signed code can be executed on the platform.
Google — although Android is now available in more recent versions (4.x); version 2.x is still the most widely deployed on existing and new handsets. This is a security risk in itself; there is no central means of providing Operating System updates, meaning that many users remain unprotected from critical vulnerabilities for a prolonged period.
By Rik Ferguson, Director Security Research & Communication EMEA, Trend Micro