iPhone 6 in Review

Mobile security: iOS vs. Android vs. BlackBerry vs. Windows Phone


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iOS 8 and Windows Phone 8.1 both up the ante for mobile management, but iOS 8 also raises questions beyond MDM tools' capabilities

The BYOD phenomenon is old news, with support from most companies. For IT organizations, the real issue is ensuring proper security and management over the mobile devices employees use, whether they are BYOD or coprorate-issued. Apple's iPhone and iPad have become the new corporate standards due to high user satisfaction and superior security capabilities, but there's increasing IT interest in supporting Android due to its strong presence in the personal market.

The big changes in mobile management this year

Last year, iOS 7 pushed Apple's management and security into new areas, including application management and licensing. The new iOS 8 has just a few additions. But iOS 8 raises new policy questions that go beyond what a mobile management tool can do, notes Ojas Rege, vice president of strategy of mobile management provider MobileIron. For example, because Apple won't allow storage on iCloud of any personal medical data from apps that use the HealthKit API, a complete device wipe may be unacceptable to users, especially if iTunes backup is also disabled by an IT policy. What are the implications of the new extensions on app management and, perhaps more important, on app design?

Microsoft's Windows Phone 8.1 adds several key management and security features, including the ability to disable Wi-Fi and support for S/MIME email security. But the new OS is on a slow path to deployment, with carriers takint their time providing the 8.1 update to Windows Phone 8 users. As a result, IT has to deal with both version 8 and 8.1 devices.

When developing its mobile management strategy, IT needs to understand that the management technology for mobile security falls into two fundamental forms: Microsoft's EAS policies and native APIs.

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