The iPhone and Security

By Daniel Drew Turner  |  Posted 2007-06-22 Print this article Print

And there is Golds third hurdle. He pointed out that security is a big, and growing, issue in corporations, and the iPhone, as far as anyone knows, does not offer strong enough protection.

"Many enterprises are looking at security management" for mobile devices, he said. "They have to be able to manage and secure, or lock the phone, or encrypt data."
This is not as much of an issue with the iPhone, he admitted, as data will only be accessible with network access.
It is currently unknown whether iPhone users will be able to access remote systems via the secure and encrypted SSH (Secure Shell) protocol. However, developer Marc Ressl has posted a "very buggy" version of a Web-based shell application for the iPhone, WebShell. However, Ressl wrote, "For remote access, it is strongly recommended to use https SSL/TLS. It is simple to configure if you use the Apache Web server." Craig Mathias, a principal at the Farpoint Group of analysts in Ashland, Mass., agreed that the iPhone could be a "big security hole" for companies if the devices get lost or stolen. Though the iPhone will not, as far as anyone knows, store documents and schedules on it, it will, like all modern cell phones, have a contact list and, perhaps, access to Web-based applications. But for Mathias, the iPhones focus on Web-based information is not a negative aspect. "I like the idea of the iPhone a lot. Im a Web services guy. Its the wave of the future," he said. "After all, the whole model of a smart phone doesnt work very well without the network coverage youd need for Web applications," he said, adding that if a user is out of network range, he or she couldnt make a call no matter how "smart" the phone. Click here to read reasons why the iPhone will/wont succeed. Still, Mathias said, "I dont think the iPhone is going to be on an IT-sanctioned list right away." Mathias also said he thinks the lack of Exchange or other push mail support will be a negative in the corporate world. "But Im willing to bet that fairly quickly someone will come up with a product to integrate the iPhone," he said. Does Apple Even Care? Though executives and IT managers may be concerned about how the iPhone might be accepted in a corporate environment, the analysts said that corporate acceptance is not, and never has been, Apples intention. "The iPhone is not being promoted to prosumer users," Golvin said. Click here to read about analysts predictions on iPhone adoption and pricing. More specifically, it is not designed to compete with the BlackBerry or Palms Treo lines. "Thats not their target segment. Theyre going after well-heeled consumers," he said. Similarly, Gold said, "The iPhone is not targeted at enterprise—its very much for the consumer space." Still, Gold said, "there will be spillover." Adoption, he said, will depend on who in the enterprise buys an iPhone, and whether that iPhone user is high up enough to demand that the phone gets tech support. That is how Golvin sees iPhones cropping up in corporate environments. "Executives will infect the enterprise. Thats how the BlackBerry got started," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.


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