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Finally, real security for iPhone and Android

Good Technology's new clients give BlackBerry-level security to the two top Web-oriented smartphones

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And of course you need a Good for Enterprise server -- a server app that runs on low-cost PCs -- for the clients to connect to. The Good server is where you set your policies and through which mobile users first connect before their data is routed to Exchange or Domino. The good news is that the Good server uses one set of policies for iPhone, Android, Symbian, and Windows Mobile (and soon WebOS) users, so it doesn't matter whether you have a mix of these. But the bad news, besides the fact you are paying for ongoing use of the server, is that you have to manage your BlackBerry users separately, through BES.

I believe that ultimately each of the mobile platforms should natively support the kinds of security features required by Exchange, Domino, and Novell Groupwise, and not require an intermediate server. But in the meantime, iPhone and Android users can finally be secured on par with BlackBerry users; if you're willing to pay for a BES to satisfy your security needs, you're probably willing to pay for a Good server as well.

You might note I haven't said much about manageability. That's because Good hasn't solved that issue on the iPhone or Android. If you want to lock down an iPhone, such as disabling use of the App Store or restricting users to certain wireless router SSIDs, you have to use Apple's iPhone Configuration Utility, which has good capabilities but can't force-provision devices over the air or verify they've been correctly provisioned. And for Android, you're completely out of luck, as there are no real management tools yet for that OS.

Both Trust Digital and MobileIron offer over-the-air provisioning of security settings for the iPhone if you use their client app and server. Zenprise's client and server can monitor which apps are installed on iPhone, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile devices -- and that's about all there is to manage iPhones in an enterprise-class way. So while Good has filled much of the security gap for iPhone and Android, the management gap remains. (My earlier blog entry "Making sense of mobile management" provides an overview on mobile device management options.)

Don't forget to be part of the InfoWorld Mobile Patrol: Send in your tips, complaints, news, and ideas to comments@infoworldmobile.com. Thanks!

This story, "Finally, real security for iPhone and Android," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in the iPhone, Google Android, and mobile computing at InfoWorld.com.

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