Mobile security is something that all businesses need to consider, particularly in a world where smartphones are becoming increasingly integrated into daily life and many people are able to work from their handset. This means that sensitive information and services can be accessed on a portable device, which like any piece of kit, can be physically lost or stolen as well as being digitally hijacked and robbed of its data.
It is perhaps unsurprising then that the BlackBerry range of smartphones from Canadian manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) was recently rated as offering the most secure mobile experience out of all the mainstream mobile platforms. Given that RIM has built its business on catering to enterprise users, it seems fitting that it would offer improved protection when compared with the more consumer-oriented alternatives.
Trend Micro published a study that rated the BBOS platform found on BlackBerry models, along with the associated services, to be the most secure on the mobile market. Conversely, Google’s Android OS was deemed to be the least secure, below Microsoft’s Windows Phone and second-place iOS from Apple.
The security rating of each platform was determined across various categories, including things like integrated firewall, virtualisation services, app protection and native security settings.
Interestingly, the study not only looked at security, but also at the appropriateness of each mobile platform in an enterprise setting. Even when considered on different factors, BlackBerry came out on top and Android was at the bottom of the heap.
Research expert Nigel Stanley said that all of his colleagues who are involved in the security side of things have expressed concern about the ‘consumerisation’ of the mobile market, which makes it far tougher for companies to protect themselves from typical threats.
Trend Micro’s Raimund Genes said that this process was unavoidable, which means that businesses need to look at smartphones as a known risk and adapt appropriately to the problems that are presented.
When looking specifically at BlackBerry smartphones, the researchers established that the security measures that were specifically designed to meet the needs of enterprise users were a real strength. However, it was pointed out that most of the protection is delivered if the device is connected to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES).
The same level of security is not offered if the BlackBerry has been purchased from a mainstream retailer by individual users and is then used for work purposes. This is because it will be using the less secure BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS), which indicates the discrepancy between consumer devices and those procured through business channels.
Of course, RIM has been coming under fire from rival Apple, whose iOS platform is now widely used thanks to the popularity of its iPhone and iPad devices. The researchers found that in the case of iOS handsets, the security is based far more on the device itself than its remote services. This includes the lack of removable storage and the tight control of the application architecture.
An issue with Apple is that businesses cannot control the device without the permission of the user, while BlackBerry handsets can be centrally managed for work purposes without such obstacles.
When it comes to Android, the mobile OS which received the worst rating in terms of security, it seems that researchers feel that the fragmented nature of Google’s platform is one of its weakest points. Regular major updates, which often release within less than 12 months of each other, mean that it can be difficult for businesses to keep up to date by patching vulnerabilities because they are not in control of this roll-out.
For the time being, it seems clear that BlackBerry is still the smartphone range of choice for enterprises that want to ensure their mobile devices are secure.
Daisy Group plc are a leading supllier of mobile phones and mobile solutions to small medium and corporate organisations acrosss the UK. As an independant provider we are able to offer the latest business mobile handsets and tariffs at competitive prices. Our business packages are designed to help keep your business connected and As an O2 centre of excellence and Vodafone premier partner you can be confident that we will provide you with a range of services, tailored to meet your business requirements. This article was written by a guest author. Would you like to write for us?