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

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Google's Android for Work and Samsung's Knox promise serious security, but how do they stack up against Apple's iOS and the rest?

Apple's iPhone and iPad long ago pushed out the BlackBerry as the corporate standard for mobile devices, in all but the highest-security environments. Google -- whose Android platform reigns outside the corporate world -- is now trying to push out Apple, with a new effort called Android for Work. And Samsung is upping the game with a new version of its own Android security suite, Knox.

What Android for Work does and doesn't do

That technology came to market last week, adding new security and management capabilities, plus the ability to do corporate deployments of Android apps from the Play Store.

Android for Work containers -- which run business apps in a separately managed workspace on your device -- are part of the Android 5 Lollipop OS and support any Google Play store apps. But Android 3.0 Ice Cream Sandwich through 4.4 KitKat requires users to install the Android for Work app, which can run only apps that have the Android for Work APIs implemented.

Either way, you need a compatible mobile management server to handle the policies applied to apps running in the container, such as enforced VPN use or copy-and-paste restrictions. Mobile management vendors supporting Android for Work include BlackBerry, Citrix Systems, Google, IBM, MobileIron, SAP, Soti, and VMware AirWatch.

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