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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Android vs iPhone: which is right for your business?

Kerry Butters writes:

When deciding on which mobile device is the right one for your business, there are a few things to take into consideration. Firstly, are you buying a handset for yourself or for others who work in the business, or are you considering running a BYOD (bring your own device) scheme.

If you’re buying strictly for your own use, then really it’s a matter of preference. Apps are available for business on both platforms and you can be sure of security if you’re using the device yourself.

However, this is something that differs for employees, especially with larger businesses as many may use the device for personal reasons and not just for work. Research has shown that a large percentage of children use their parent’s phone and this constitutes a risk when using the Android platform, as there is less app regulation on this.

Any company which is considering buying devices or running BYOD schemes need to invest in a sound mobile management system, as well as putting into place a mobile usage policy.

In general terms, the iPhone is a lot more secure when it comes to apps; these have to go through a rigorous testing process before they are approved for entry into the App Store. Android devices, on the other hand are built on an open source platform and app approval is much less regulated and so the incidence of Android malware has risen rapidly over the past few years.

Whilst it’s been proven that the Apple platform is not invulnerable to attacks, this is because it was carried out by a determined hacker, rather than malicious apps appearing in the App Store.

Bearing this in mind, if you have a small business, then your safest bet is the iPhone as the risk of malware infection via malicious apps is greatly reduced.

When it comes to BYOD schemes though, this is not so straightforward as you have no control over the devices employees bring, although this can be overcome by having a policy which only allows Apple devices (somewhat defeating the object of having a BYOD scheme in the first place).

Saying that, if you choose Android, with a good mobile management system in place, your IT department can block certain apps, as well as giving certain permissions to what data the user can access, depending on the position in the company they hold.

However, if your business isn’t large enough to afford a management system, or doesn’t have an IT department, then the iPhone is your best bet as it’s more secure and won’t leave your company data potentially accessible from a malicious app which collects information.

If you don’t personally like the iPhone and would rather have an Android device, then it’s vital that you put in place a strong policy on downloading apps. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to regulate what your employees do in both cases, in the interests of productivity.

This can be achieved much in the same way as you would with a workstation; ban employees from using their personal social media accounts at work, as well as taking personal calls and downloading games.

To sum up, which platform you choose depends on the size of your business, who is using the phone and strong policies on usage being put into practice.

Kerry Butters writes on behalf of Broadband Genie, the comparison site for broadband, mobile broadband and smartphones such as the iPhone. Follow this link for more information.

Author: The Fonecast
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