Employees are marching into their company’s IT departments and demanding that their beloved iPhone work as their corporate device—but the iPhone is comparable to RIM’s leading industry standard of data security.
However, app developers aim to cash in on this gap by creating apps that offer secure email and other services which include sensitive data in a bid to make the iPhone more viable as a corporate device.
Reuters provides an example:
Deutsche Bank. In conjunction with California-based software maker Good Technology, the German bank is delivering corporate e-mail to some employees in a trial that its internal analyst said was “overwhelmingly positive” despite some minor flaws. “You’re seeing consumers, or employees, bring their iPhones in to IT managers and ‘say make this work,”’ Deutsche’s Chris Whitmore said by telephone.
Good and other security specialists like MobileIron and NetHawk are developing programs that can provide the extra assurances required by financial services and healthcare providers, which require airtight communications. “What they’re very good at doing is going into an enterprise where they’re very concerned about security and say we’re going to beef up the iPhone and iPad because they’re not very secure,” analyst Jack Gold of J.Gold Associates said, referring to Good Technologies.“It basically puts a lockbox around an unsecure device.”
Bringing up he iPad is interesting. Certainly, where it stands now, it is not an ideal corporate device—even pushing aside the all-important element of security, it’s size and lack of true multi-tasking or computing power simply doesn’t make sense. But the iPad 2 will likely change this, as its apt to boost processing power, and add fully functional multi-tasking, among other improvements. However, will enterprise-level security be one of the changes? Doubtful.
But RIM, renowned for its enterprise-savviness, doesn’t have a tablet yet. So no standard has been set for corporate tablets, should they take off (and they’re apt to). But the forthcoming PlayBook by BlackBerry may set this bar—it has all the power a tablet could ask for, and is designed from the inner core to the outer shell for heavy enterprise use. If any tablet catches the eye of enterprises, this one certainly will.
Then again, will app developers not just do to the iPad then as they are doing to the iPhone now? It’s difficult to predict, but it should make for an interesting year.