Which Mobiles Pose the Most Threat to Your Business?

The use of smartphones in business is now commonplace, but with a rapid rise in mobile security threats, these devices now pose a serious threat.

This reliance on mobile devices has moved the IT security challenge from the controllable arena of closed networks to an interconnected global business network that includes employees’ personal devices. Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android remain the market-leading mobile operating systems and both bring new approaches to security; but which poses the most threat to your business?

In this article we will explore the following security features:

  • Overall device control – app deletion, locking and passwords
  • App Store/Play Store security and app permissions
  • Exploit security and update frequency
  • Malware protection

IOS

Overall Device Control

When it comes to overall device control iOS is slightly limited, but for a good reason. Since Apple has total control over the operating system, they have the final say of what apps can be built. This leads to less customisation, fewer options for users, and therefore less control. It does, however, provide a safer and more consistent user experience.

App Store

Apple has full control over which apps are available on its App Store, surveying all apps and therefore decreasing the probability of rogue apps and malware getting through. You can also delete and control the apps on iOS easily and have complete peace of mind that all pre-installed apps have been developed and signed by Apple themselves.

Exploit Security and Frequency

When it comes to updating software, Apple makes it a mandate for every user to download the most recent security update, this is done by giving out continuous notifications which makes it increasingly difficult for its users to ignore. This push of updating software decreases fragmentation; fragmentation occurs is when older versions of operating systems remain on active mobile devices. The greater the software fragmentation, the greater the chances of introducing loopholes for hackers, which increase the probability of malware and data breaches.  Apple has also recently commented that they’re going to attempt to block tools used by Facebook to automatically track its users’ location.

Malware Protection

Apple doesn’t need an anti-virus program for iOS because it doesn’t leave room for a virus. In order for antivirus software to work, it needs to hook into the operating system; the way iOS is designed makes this almost impossible thanks to a design that deeply separates the apps from the rest of the system, a process commonly known as sandboxing.

Android

Overall Device Control

Device control and customization are one of Androids main draws. With Android, you can add a theme to your phone, change the font, add widgets, shortcuts and even use third-party apps. iOS doesn’t allow for this level of customisation for a reason, it comes with potential security threats.

Google Play

Google Play has a more relaxed approval policy than The App Store; this means that app developers have greater flexibility, which enables them to experiment more with their ideas. However, this means a greater influx of amateur applications which may contain bugs and therefore pose an increased security threat. Android has a wider range of apps to choose from, however, the quality of Apples is arguably better, it’s a choice between quality or quantity.

Exploit Security and Frequency

The fragmentation of Android devices across old versions plays into the hands of malware creators. There are eight different versions of Android that currently exist, most of which do not contain important security patches and upgrades. To counter this, Android has introduced Project Treble. Project Treble will help to eliminate security threats by ensuring vital updates are pushed through when released. Project Treble isn’t a solution to Android’s fragmentation problem right now but will help to ensure the security of all devices going forward.

Malware Protection

Studies have found that a far higher percentage of mobile malware is directed at Android rather than iOS; that’s mostly down to Android’s huge global popularity, its open approach and as mentioned previously and its somewhat relaxed approached to security updates. Many threats to Android could be largely eliminated if all users upgraded their handsets to the latest version.

So, which poses the most threat to my business?

Overall it looks like Android takes the crown when it comes to posing the most threat to your business due to its’ fragmentation and open-approach to app development. However, this fragmentation is likely to decrease significantly in light of Project Treble, which will be rolled out on all new devices very soon.

When it comes to mobile selection, users often harbour a strong preference towards a certain brand, which can make policing difficult. To ensure complete protection, we strongly recommend installing robust mobile management software across your complete mobile estate. Microsoft EMS is a device-management and virtual-identity-management suite which allows maximum security and control for mobile devices. It helps protect your organisation’s data on handheld devices but also identify breaches before they cause damage. Contact our team today to discuss your options for protecting your mobile data

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