iOS vs. Android: What’s Best For Enterprise Security?

Among the major concerns of enterprises these days are data security and theft from mobile devices. Here's a look at whether iOS or Android offers better enterprise security.
Android: Password History
Android: Disable Diagnostics AND Dev Features
Android: S/MIME
Android: Privacy
Android: MDM Support
Android: App Store Restrictions
iOS: Password History
iOS: Disable Diagnostics And Dev Features
iOS: Privacy
iOS: MDM Support
iOS: App Store Restrictions

The Bring Your Own Device trope has been around so long now that it has created a cottage industry of like-minded acronyms, such as Bring Your Own App (BYOA), and Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC).

Still, for the IT professionals who are charged with implementing, deploying, and maintaining an enterprise's BYOD policy, the idea that an employee could download sensitive data to a smartphone or tablet and then lose it is still enough to cause nightmares.

Right now, Apple's iOS dominates the BYOD enterprise market, although Google's Android mobile operating system has made some gains. Determining which one is more secure for your enterprise depends on the industry sector in which you operate, the number of employee devices you have to manage, and the level of regulation your business faces.

On the plus side, iOS and Android have both had their security features beefed up in recent years. Perhaps the most significant development was the ability for users to store and transfer data with the help of Exchange ActiveSync or EAS.

EAS is a Microsoft-designed protocol that synchronizes email, contacts, calendars, tasks, and notes from a messaging server to a mobile device. It is based on XML. The EAS server and the mobile device communicate over HTTP or, more commonly, HTTPS. Initially, EAS only supported Microsoft Exchange Servers and Microsoft Pocket PC devices, but now EAS is a standard protocol for synchronization among a broad range of groupware and mobile devices.

It can be a first layer of defense for organizations that are also using mobile device management (MDM) tools. They key here is choosing MDM applications that are compatible with your device policies and features. 

Here, InformationWeek looks at the primary data security-related features in iOS and Android to help you uncover which is best for your enterprise. What have your experiences been with BYOD and MDM? Let us know in the comments section below.

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