Which is the most secure mobile operating system? Is it Android – Knox, Blackberry BES, Apple’s iOS or Windows Phone? Let’s find out.
Whether it is for personal privacy usage or secure business application and implementation, smart-devices such as smart-phone or tablets is used in every walks of life. In every way, smart-phones and tabs have become a ‘personal device’ which not only helps us to communicate but also to stay informed. Today, the need for privacy and security in smart-phones is more than ever before.
In the enterprise sector, the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) technology is now an old news. For any organization, the real challenge is to plan and implement effective security and management whether it is enterprise security or BYOD policy. Even in BYOD era, its lack of implementation remains a major change. According to a security firm, nearly 64% of the companies have no BYOD policy or other mobile security practices and it is reported that almost half of the companies have reported mobile device security breaches and data theft. So in this context, it is imperative to know in terms of mobile operating system – which is the most secure operating system in the world. In this article, we will look at some of the latest developments and security features of Android – Knox, Blackberry BES, Apple’s iOS and Windows phone mobile operating system.
Android – Knox
Android is no doubt the most popular and widely accepted mobile operating system in the world. But in terms of security and privacy is Android better than other operating system? Android through Samsung smart-phone has made a huge impact in the enterprise security domain. But the fact remains that most mobile antivirus companies say that Android operating system is the most intruded platform for host of malwares. Samsung has already finished projecting Android’s Knox as the solution for enterprise security platform for BYOD and MDM security policy. According to various security experts Android is in a way not secure as secure as iOS or Blackberry. But this does mean Android is less secure than other mobile operating system. In terms of enterprise security, Android has a lot of built-in security features. The Knox security feature built on the Android based hardware relies on virtualization technology to completely segregate corporate or official data and personal data on Android mobile devices. Samsung the active supporter of Android operating system has been advertising its SAFE (Samsung Approved For Enterprise) extensions for the enterprise class.
Blackberry BES10 & BES12
By default, the Blackberry has world-wide acceptance in the enterprise class segment for its mobile enterprise security capabilities like the BES10 management server. Then there is ‘Blackberry Balance Technology’ which is a strong security feature that segregates work data and personal data based on ‘IT Policy’ and IT Policy Rules’. These policies can be enabled or disabled based on the requirements of the organization. It is not surprising that Blackberry market is on the decline and they are run out of ideas. That’s the reason why Blackberry may have chosen Samsung as its strategic partner to boost-up the sales of its BES12 a new secure cross-platform EMM solution with Samsung Galaxy smart-phones and tablets that are embedded with Samsung KNOX.
Regardless of the market-share or business turnover, specifically in terms of mobile enterprise security, Blackberry phone features remain a strong contender to the most secured smart-phone in the enterprise sector.
Apple’s iPhone – iOS 7
In terms of Mobile Device Management (MDM), Apple’s iPhone and iPad running iOS is regarded as the safe choice for most of the enterprise organizations. This is because Apple’s iOS has strong feature to consolidate and control all device hardware, software and ecosystem of apps along-with the iOS 7’s latest content and application management APIs. Specifically speaking, the iOS 7 monitors and control the huge part of the mobile stack from the aspect of application layer via App Store, Mobile Operating System (iOS), and the hardware which is iPhone or the iPad negating the infrastructure layer of wireless carrier. According to security experts it is this feature that has an edge over Android mobile operating system.
Another area where is Apple’s iOS is stronger in security than the Google’s Android OS is the app store. In security aspect, Apple gives the same priority to the App Store platform as it gives to the iOS architecture. Security experts argue that if the apps are not secure it does not matter how secure the operating system is built. It does not take a mobile security expert to say that Apple’s iOS in terms of enterprise security is way ahead than Android.
Windows Phone 8
In security, Windows Phone OS being a late entrant to the enterprise club is not far from behind its other competitors. Microsoft’s latest mobile operating system Windows Phone 8 has unique security features like integration with Active Directory which is useful for companies using MDM giving them the capability to better administer and assign policies to groups of users. Then there are features like native Active Sync support in Windows Phone 8 and Microsoft has made vast developments in offering more vigorous application sandboxing. The latest mobile operating system from Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1 offers additional key security policy and management features. Some of them are the ability to disable Wi-Fi and support for S/MIME email security. Then there are features of Windows 8.1 that provides remote business data removal and support for new Virtual Private Network tunnel types.
Security experts are of that view that in terms of enterprise security and MDM, Windows Phone 8 does not have a wider acceptance compared to Blackberry or the iOS.
Collectively speaking, all the four different mobile operating system – Android, Blackberry, iOS and Windows Phone provides a platform for enterprises to deploy their own apps directly to their corporate users where the security team can deploy and manage enterprise apps from a secure source rather than from a public app store. In an enterprise, mobile management tools can connect these security mechanisms to group policies and content-management controls.
It’s not a surprising factor that in terms of enterprise security requirements, iOS and Blackberry provides better services than Android or Blackberry. The next in line is the Android operating system which offers some unique security solutions along-with the Samsung Knox platform. According to various security experts, Windows Phone operating phone obviously has always been the last choice for an enterprise usage in terms of mobile security.
The bottom-line is that the best security and privacy features of a given mobile operating system or secure mobile platform is of no significance if the end-user of the smart-device does not use common-sense and disregards the best security practices.
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