Despite having its market share consistently eroded, RIM can take solace in knowing that its BlackBerry platform is the most secure.
In recent research conducted by Trend Micro, it was found that BlackBerry OS 7.0 scored highest across the board for its security and manageability at work.
It was closely followed by Apple’s iOS 5 platform and Windows Phone 7.5, with Google’s Android 2.3 at the bottom of the list.
Trend Micro mobile security VP, Cesare Garlati, said RIM’s BlackBerry OS is the safest, as well as the most manageable and secure, of the four mobile operating systems due to two reasons.
“One is that RIM, traditionally has been an enterprise vendor,” he said. “Two, is that RIM and BlackBerry is the most mature, most stable and most enterprise friendly out there.”
While Garlati was not surprised that BlackBerry is the most secure operating system on the market, what he did find surprising was how far ahead of the rest the results placed it.
“When you look at the charts, they are vastly superior to the other mobile operating systems,” he said.
On the other end of the spectrum, Android got the lowest score and Garlati attributes several reasons for this.
“It’s less mature than iOS, as Android has been around for 18 months,” he said.
“But I think there is something much deeper, something I don’t think will change in three months or three years, which is the overall business model.”
Garlati highlights that the major problems for Google is that it does not make hardware itself, and therefore it does not control the eco-system, meaning that there are numerous manufacturers out there making smartphones and tablets on the Android operating system.
“However, because Android is open source, manufacturers like Samsung, HTC and Sony can add their own touches to the basic Android code, making it difficult to keep track of what versions are out there at any given time,” he said.
And even within a single manufacturer’s range of phones and tablets, Garlati sees customers get different versions of the Android OS, which add to the problem.
“If you look at the Samsung Nexus S, which is the pure Google experience, it is different from the Samsung Galaxy Tab,” he said.
The other issue with Android according to Garlati is relation to apps, and the fact that users are able to acquire an app from anywhere and install it on the device without any restrictions from Google.
He points out how in the Android settings menu, a user can tick an option to let them install an application from any source.
“While it’s unchecked by default, once you have enabled it you can upload an app from anywhere, be it a USB stick or even through the browser on your phone,” Garlati said.
iOS, despite running on devices purely aimed at consumers and not the enterprise, still managed to command a second spot on the list.
However, Garlati feels that this is the peak for iOS and that is unlikely to overtake BlackBerry’s security in the near future.
“Apple’s focus is on consumer requirements,” he said.
“Security and manageability are not necessarily top consumer requirements.”
Instead, Garlati expects that iOS will get more secure and manageable over time, but adds that “the Apple model” will require third party solutions such as mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) to complement enterprise requirements for the platform.