Mobile Security Smackdown: iOS vs. Android vs. BlackBerry vs. Windows Phone


Android: A Close Second In Security

But that's not to say Android isn't secure. Android has a host of built-in security features. Android hardware makers such as Samsung also have customized versions of Android running on its hardware with advanced security measures such as the Samsung Knox mobile security platform.

Knox is Samsung's big enterprise play, and it's recognized as the great Android hope when it comes to security in the enterprise. However, to take advantage of the platform a business must first have enterprise-level management of a Knox-enabled handset. The platform relies on virtualization that creates a full separation of work and personal data on mobile devices.

For these reasons, Ojas Rege, vice president of strategy at MDM vendor MobileIron, Mountain View, Calif., said Android security and manageability is nearing parity with Apple. "Android adoption is definitely increasing. The key to security is a sandboxed application architecture where the data in an enterprise app cannot be compromised by another app. iOS is the most tightly sandboxed. But more secure versions of Android, like Samsung Knox, are as well."

BlackBerry: Can It Turn Things Around?

Then there is BlackBerry. With its BlackBerry Enterprise Server it offers hundreds of security tools for the risk-conscious enterprise.

"BlackBerry is the most secure. That's the only reason why they are still alive," said Steven Kantorowitz, president of CelPro Associates, a BlackBerry partner based in New York. "That's why governments use them and even [President Obama]."

If nostalgia and respect could drive market share, Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry would reign over Apple tomorrow, but many in the industry see the mobile OS as on its last leg. That has triggered a developer exodus and mobile management companies turning resources to other platforms.

"BlackBerry lost its innovative lead. The OS is no longer a consideration," Veracode's Titonis said.

By the numbers alone, BlackBerry's future looks bleak. MobileIron's Rege said BlackBerry share among the businesses it works with has been dropping rapidly.

According to a recent MobileIron survey, half of the companies that manage BlackBerry phones said they plan on dropping support in the next 12 months. In the financial services industry, 44 percent of the mobile devices are BlackBerry. According to MobileIron, that number is expected to decrease to 30 percent in the next 12 months.

"We put close to zero resources on BlackBerry," said Rege. It's the lack of consumer demand that is driving nails in BlackBerry's coffin, not its security, he said.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen, however, begs to differ with the naysayers. At Mobile World Congress in February, Chen told conference attendees that BlackBerry has a shot at clawing back to smartphone relevance with a new high-end QWERTY smartphone called BlackBerry Classic, slated to launch later this year.

In an interview with USA Today, Chen said of the BlackBerry Classic: "It's an updated and enhanced version of one of our most popular and successful products called the Bold. It will include a keyboard and a good touch screen, very fast Internet, Web-browsing capability and multimedia capability. But also it will be very productive and very secure."

Chen has long stated BlackBerry is the most secure platform when it comes to the handset and messaging (both email and BBM) with security central to the company's road map.

NEXT: Windows Phone 8: A Force To Be Reckoned With