For those that keep a close eye on the cell phone market, there is hardly any doubt that iOS is now firmly in the driving seat in the enterprise now. This upsurge owes a lot to the expansion of the BYOD (bring your own device) trend. However, despite all the hype and excitement Trend Micro’s latest report (PDF) has touted BlackBerry 7 – RIM’s new OS – as the safest platform for businesses, edging out iOS.

Blackberry vs iPhone

RIM eyes business market

This newsbreak has come at a time when RIM has categorically stated its intention of owning the business market, so to speak. This in turn could mean that Apple’s own plans of making inroads into the enterprise might suffer a setback. Trend Micro’s report has highlighted ‘corporate-grade security and manageability’ that has tilted the enterprise’s attention towards the direction of BlackBerry 7.

BlackBerry Enterprise Server the cornerstone

BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) is one of the major reasons why Blackberry provides more secure platform for its users. Owing to BES the user would need to ask the operator to download a particular app in their BlackBerry, and hence this supervision reduces the risk of malware installation. BES wards off the possibility of installing some of the most menacing features – like the password protection removal – hence, ensuring the security of the phone. Merely the user-provisioned devices that get internet through BIS (BlackBerry Internet Services) don’t have those features that BES gives the user, and hence, this makes it the cornerstone of RIM’s success.

iOS 5 the best of the rest

Blackberry 7 might’ve sat at the top of the pile according to the Trend Micro report, but iOS 5 wasn’t too far behind the leader; and ahead of the chasing pack of Windows Phone 7.5 and Google Android 2.3. The fact that all iOS applications are ‘sand-boxed’ in a common memory environment, gives users protection on iOS. Also, the characteristics of iPhone and iPad also add to the iOS security.

Apple or RIM

Apple has the edge over Blackberry because it doesn’t allow any options for adding removable storage. This effectively provides the users another thick protective layer. Another thing that goes in Apple’s favor is that BlackBerry IT administrator has total control over the BlackBerry device, while the IT department of iOS can only configure items after the user’s permission.

Even so, there are a few factors that increase the risk factor in iOS devices. Cybercrime, for example which is a billion dollar industry, has targeted the platform simply because of its overwhelming popularity.

Jailbreaking is another problem that needs to be dealt with. The problem with Apple is that it has the tendency to dictate a few terms and the users don’t take the domineering wife personification too kindly when it comes to their cell phones. There have been instances when Apple has blocked content, and has also thrust additional Wi-Fi hotspot functionality charges. This uncompromising attitude has in turn led to a lot of users jailbreaking their phone, and it goes without saying that a jailbroken phone is a long way away from being a secure phone.

Neglecting enterprise users

Owing to consumerization and BYOD, every device has now become a risk to business. And by going for a platform that appeals to the consumers, the needs of enterprise users are often disregarded. Despite some platforms evolving to cater to enterprise needs, the consumer market is still the targeted front.
Hence, while RIM might’ve conjured up the ingredients for the taste buds of the businesses, there is still a lot of room for improvement. And as far as iOS is concerned, its security risks in the enterprise are manageable but there are problems on the cost and support front.

Jane Andrew writes about tips, tricks and news about mobile phone monitoring apps. You can also follow her on Twitter @janeandrew01 to get the latest tips about cell phone technology.