As more businesses adopt tablets as productivity enhancement tools, there is much speculation about the security risks inherent in these devices.
A recent technology audit and report by Context Information Security compared three of the biggest tablets’ data security features and found that Research in Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook had the most secure hardware/software combination available on the market. The report looked at the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab and BlackBerry PlayBook side-by-side, and evaluated the quality of their data security as it relates to enterprise-level businesses.
BlackBerry PlayBook- The Most Secure Tablet
The BlackBerry PlayBook stands out in the crowd for a variety of reasons, including its separation of work and personal data, the security added by the BlackBerry Bridge application, and its FIPS certification—for use as a device by U.S. government agencies that handle sensitive data and information. Following the report, John Leyden of The Register tells of how the Blackberry is the only device that notably allows a distinction between professional and personal usage in one device. He also feels that this is an important factor considering that many companies are beginning to trend towards “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).”
Another one of the PlayBook’s primary security features for enterprises is that in order to access sensitive information like work email, the PlayBook authenticates with a BlackBerry mobile device. William Deutsche of About.com explains it concisely when he writes that as the PlayBook becomes less of a smartphone, the lack benefits will become apparent. The encryption key is unique and resides on the phone, so if a tablet is accidentally left on the back-seat of a cab in a bustling city, rest assured that the data is secure. This is especially important for enterprises and government agencies.
The report wasn’t so pleased with Android’s security features, noting that the Galaxy Tab displayed that it lacked in security features, making it hard to recommend for professional use. In addition to the security factors, management tools beyond ActiveSync are not as proficient; making it more difficult to manage multiple devices. As employees seek device options that are approved by IT departments, businesses struggle to manage the large number of devices now on each network, while at the same time keeping valuable data secure.
Jonathan Roach, author of the report states,
“It is difficult to ignore the growing presence of tablet computers in the home and workplace offering a blend of productivity, connectivity and physical freedom which has never been achieved before … The device format is perfect for social networking and creating and sharing documents, presentations and other content on-the-fly, but the same characteristics also present tough security challenges for organizations.”
The BlackBerry PlayBook is also certified by the Federal Information Processing Standard, meaning that it’s been approved for use by government agencies. If the government trusts the device’s security, its advantages should be apparent to enterprises.