Mobile // Mobile Devices
News
11/22/2011
02:46 PM
50%
50%

Android Vs. iOS Vs. Windows Phone 7: Enterprise Shootout

As enterprise IT loosens its death grip on the RIM BlackBerry, we test the top mobile rivals. Dig into a real-life comparison of user experience, apps, enterprise readiness, and more.

10 Companies Driving Mobile Security
10 Companies Driving Mobile Security
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)

While Apple, Google, and Microsoft compete on user experience, applications, and great consumer features, enterprise security is a more difficult conversation.

All three vendors provide an app store where application developers upload and distribute apps, but not all app stores are created equal. For example, the Android Market simply requires a Google account and $25 to submit an app. Apple analyzes each app (for unpredictable lengths of time) to make sure it behaves properly. Microsoft actually has the tightest restrictions of all: Not only does it check out apps, but also you must be a registered and validated Microsoft ISV to submit at all. Some reports say that Microsoft runs the apps through various tools to detect security problems.

Despite all of these procedures (or lack thereof,) all three companies have had malware distributed through the app stores.

The main differences come into play once an app is loaded on the phone. The way in which each mobile OS provides sandboxing and permissions, and offers encryption, is unique. With Apple, each application runs in its own sandbox. This type of protection defeats many attacks simply because the app can’t access the sensitive data you protect. But what about all of the shared data, like contacts, phone numbers, or files on the device? Apple’s sandboxing doesn’t protect that, and there have been apps that pilfer contacts.

This is where Google decided to add a bit more security to Android. Google not only uses a sandbox but also prevents what shared data an app can access. Google calls these permissions, and whenever an app is installed, the user has to approve the app’s permissions. You will know before you install an app that it will access your photos, contacts, phone call history, etc. If you don’t think the game you want to install should have access to your phone call history, you can choose not to install the app.

Microsoft took a page from Google. Windows Phone 7 implements a similar approach, but also makes anonymous some shared data that Google doesn’t, such as your phone’s serial ID and phone number. This affords a bit more privacy to the user.

What if the app you are running is meant to deal with sensitive data, such as email or files? Each provider leaves it up to the app to implement encryption; each provides the interfaces for developers to use encryption. Sadly, many developers don’t, because encryption can slow down apps.

When it comes to the files you store on the device itself (for example, files copied from your PC or Mac,) you'll need full device encryption. Apple has had this since it introduced the iPhone 3Gs. Android has encryption only for tablet devices running Honeycomb, and for phones running the soon to be released Android 4.0. Microsoft doesn’t have any device encryption.

Also, while Apple seems to have what many enterprises want for encryption, the problem is that iOS stores the keys for encryption on the phone, making them easily recoverable by an attacker. Thus, Apple's encryption is not enterprise ready. Android does implement device encryption properly, but again, just in Honeycomb.

Oh, and that device encryption? No matter what platform, it won't work without a passcode to lock the device. If you don’t lock the device, encryption doesn’t matter: the mobile OS will decrypt the data for the user automatically.

When it comes to managing the security of these devices, MDM software is at the beck and call of the OS vendor. Because of the way the sandboxing model works, the MDM software must use the APIs available from the OS vendor to get things done--which means if the vendor doesn’t have great support for a feature, such as an encryption, the MDM vendor most likely won’t either.

While Apple has been providing more and more enterprise APIs, Google is catching up and the new 4.0 release will have some good security enhancements for the enterprise. Most of the MDM providers don’t even support the Windows Phone 7 platform and can’t manage it; or if they do, they only provide a couple features, such as remote wipe and enforcing a passcode.

The BlackBerry is still the gold standard here.

In the enterprise setting, you really must use MDM software to implement security on your mobile devices. Doing it by hand using the tools provided by these vendors just isn’t possible. The best thing an enterprise can do is compare features such as self-enrollment, device support, and remote control capabilities, and focus on creating a mobility council to provide planning and deployment of the MDM software.

(Find much more background and advice on MDM in our research report -- free registration is required.)

Previous
4 of 6
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
ANON1249584737867
50%
50%
ANON1249584737867,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/4/2011 | 11:54:49 PM
re: Android Vs. iOS Vs. Windows Phone 7: Enterprise Shootout
Windows Phone 7 (or 8) isn't going anywhere until Microsoft builds LTE support into them, because Verizon won't carry them until then, and Verizon is still the 900-lb primate in the zoo. And it is a shame, because Microsoft could be making a killing, since the iFone doesn't have full functionality on the Verizon network (CDMA and LTE just cannot do the multitasking that GSM can; sorry -- and if you don't believe me, get iFones from Verizon and ATT and talk on them while trying to use a Web search for the nearest diner). Verizon has the coverage and the customer base, and ATT has the technology and the handsets.
GrantMoerschel
50%
50%
GrantMoerschel,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/30/2011 | 11:02:33 AM
re: Android Vs. iOS Vs. Windows Phone 7: Enterprise Shootout
Like Fritz, I too wonder how many of the, what is it 300+, BES policy types are actually used. I'd bet most IT staff implement the same type of policies across the board and I'd also bet alot of those policies are pretty basic. Apple is increasing their inventory of control hooks and it will be interesting to see how Android ICS does in this area as IT and MDM vendors wrap their arms around it. Oh and the integration of the 3LM.com hooks too on Android is something to watch.

Has anyone seen survey data on the average complexity of BES policies and whether they tend to be at parity with other platforms? Meaning... even though BES policies can be complex because of lots of knobs and switches, do people use the controls?
kroyalty410
50%
50%
kroyalty410,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/30/2011 | 3:12:36 AM
re: Android Vs. iOS Vs. Windows Phone 7: Enterprise Shootout
try this one if you are a facebook junkie: go to your facebook account settings and chose "mobile > add a phone" and follow the instructions to add your phone. make sure to include texting the letter "F" to 32665 (FBOOK). afterwards, add facebook as a contact and then tell the phone to "text facebook" and you can update your status via voice all hands-free :)
kroyalty410
50%
50%
kroyalty410,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/30/2011 | 3:10:04 AM
re: Android Vs. iOS Vs. Windows Phone 7: Enterprise Shootout
If you do - also try launching any program you installed via voice. just say "Open appname" where appname is the program you want to run. no need to hunt for it :)
speterpott99
50%
50%
speterpott99,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/29/2011 | 4:52:24 PM
re: Android Vs. iOS Vs. Windows Phone 7: Enterprise Shootout
Given so many folks are switching from Blackberry to Android, there's an app that helps setup a new android phone, specifically for BB folks making the change. Might find it helpful... Welcome Home to Android.
klutz606
50%
50%
klutz606,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/29/2011 | 3:28:24 PM
re: Android Vs. iOS Vs. Windows Phone 7: Enterprise Shootout
Our IT group supports the iPhone, Android and Windows Phone, I keep returning to the Windows Phone. WP7 with the latest OS update is very easy and fast to use. I've been able to get all the applications I want. I believe Microsoft has the best end-user experience and is best positioned to gain more market share quickly.
WP7
50%
50%
WP7,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/29/2011 | 9:55:45 AM
re: Android Vs. iOS Vs. Windows Phone 7: Enterprise Shootout
For future reference...

It's really simple! The mistake you made was to add all your accounts to the first Linked Inbox.

Suppose you have 4 email accounts which you have already setup on your phone (Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo) and you want one linked inbox for Outlook and Hotmail, and one linked inbox for Gmail and Yahoo. Here's how you do this -

1. From your apps list, click on one of the accountsyou want to link (eg Outlook) to open the email app.
2. Click the 3 dots to bring up the menu, then click "link inboxes".
3. It will show you "This Inbox" which will be the one you clicked on (eg Outlook) and below that it will show you all the other inboxes which you can link. From that list, click Hotmail. This will link your Hotmail and your Outlook accounts into one inbox.
4. Now click "rename linked inbox" and save it. Lets call it "Work Email".
5. Now come out of the email app and you will have a new tile called "Work Email" which you can pin to the home screen and contains both your Outlook and Hotmail account. Your individual tiles for your Outlook and Hotmail will no longer appear in the apps list until you decide to unlink them.

Now repeat this for your Gmail and Yahoo account to create a second linked inbox, called Private Email for example.

Now you know how to do this! :)
FritzNelson
50%
50%
FritzNelson,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/29/2011 | 4:35:24 AM
re: Android Vs. iOS Vs. Windows Phone 7: Enterprise Shootout
Taken out of context, I suppose it does seem casual. However, I happen to work in an enterprise that DOES ban the Android. It allowed me to use it fully, however, for the purposes of my testing.
FritzNelson
50%
50%
FritzNelson,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/29/2011 | 4:33:40 AM
re: Android Vs. iOS Vs. Windows Phone 7: Enterprise Shootout
Question 1: Hasn't it already? Question 2: When will it win on the tablet?
FritzNelson
50%
50%
FritzNelson,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/29/2011 | 4:32:49 AM
re: Android Vs. iOS Vs. Windows Phone 7: Enterprise Shootout
Steve, I agree that solutions like Tango (that are cross platform) are better. I think Skype, by the way, is the ultimate killer cross platform solution, because over time the mobile version will surely do more than just video chat. However, quite a number of people are compelled by Facetime, so we might have to disagree on that point. Just because you or I wouldn't buy an iPhone for that reason doesn't mean that people don't.
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of June 21, 2015.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.