Android remains least secure enterprise platform says study
Google's OS scores less than half of BlackBerry's rating in security survey, also falling behind WP7 and iOS
Published: 12 April, 2012
The BlackBerry may be losing its enterprise crown as companies move to BYOD (bring your own device) strategies, but however employees may love Android handsets, doubts remain over their security. The RIM devices remain head and shoulders ahead of the rest in terms of mobile security, according to a new analysis by TrendMicro.
The security provider's survey, entitled 'enterprise readiness of consumer mobile platforms', rated the main four platforms by various criteria, and found Android by far the weakest. Each OS was given a score out of five for general device security, application security, code signing, authentication, device wipe support, firewall and virtualization.
BlackBerry 7's average score was 2.89, followed by iOS on 1.7. Apple has put considerable effort into improving security and other enterprise ready capabilities in recent software releases, as it increasingly targets corporate users with the iPhone and iPad. Those activities are bearing fruit, with iOS just ahead of WP7 (on 1.61), despite Microsoft's deeper roots in the enterprise world. However, given the newness of WP7, gaining a strong score so early is an endorsement, while by contrast, the more mature Android was a poor fourth on 1.37.
The main problem identified by Trend Micro, which commissioned the research from Altimeter Group and Bloor Research, was the old Android bugbear, fragmentation. "Although Android is now available in more recent versions, version 2.x is still the most widely deployed on existing and new handsets. This is a security risk in itself; there is no central means of providing operating system updates, meaning that many users remain unprotected from critical vulnerabilities for a prolonged period," said the study.
Another, more surprising, weakness is in business applications. Despite its huge developer base and rising usage of Android handsets within companies, Android scored zero for core apps (such as business messaging).
"Against the growing, unstoppable backdrop of consumerization and BYOD, every mobile device is a risk to business," commented Trend Micro CTO Raimund Genes in a statement. "There is still a strong 'consumer marketing' legacy in some quarters and this is negating some of the progress made on the enterprise front. Indeed, some of the attributes we have examined in the report are still firmly 'enterprise unready'."