Windows Phone 7 lacks on-device encryption

Omission means many businesses can't support Microsoft's newest mobile OS

Many businesses will not be able to support Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 operating system, which began shipping in the United States today. Like the competing Google Android, Windows Phone 7 does not support on-device encryption to protect data stored on it. Many businesses require such encryption to be able to access corporate data through EAS (Exchange ActiveSync) policies and automatically block connections from devices that don't support device-level encryption.

Users will get the error code 85010013 when trying to sync their email on a Windows Phone 7 device, rather than an English description of the problem. Microsoft's support forum confirms the lack of on-device encryption support.

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By contrast, Microsoft's previous mobile OS, Windows Mobile, did support on-device encryption. Apple's iPhone 3G S, iPhone 4, iPad, and 2009-and-later iPod Touch models all support on-device encryption, making them more securable than Windows Phone 7 devices. Users of Android devices, such as the Motorola Droid and HTC, can get around Android's lack of on-device encryption by using the NitroDesk Touchdown email app, which enrypts all email, calendar, and contact information accessed from Exchange.

Research in Motion's BlackBerry also supports on-device encryption, whereas Hewlett-Packard's WebOS does not. (InfoWorld.com has released a comparison of security capabilities of all the major mobile operating systems.)

Microsoft promises to support on-device encryption in Windows Phone 7 in a future update. The company has also promised to add support for a slew of other omissions, including HTML5-based websites, Adobe Flash Player, devicewide search, multitasking, and copy and paste.

This article, "Windows Phone 7 lacks on-device encryption," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in business technology news and get a digest of the key stories each day in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter.

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