Security on mobile devices is important for keeping your data safe. This may be personal data or business data, but whatever is stored on your device will need protecting.
From a physical point of view, both Android and iOS offer options including biometrics and passcodes to prevent unauthorized access, making either operating system secure. When it comes to software security, iOS is often touted as being more stable and secure than Android could ever hope to be, but that isn’t necessarily the case.
Finding The Flaws
A whitepaper, Android for Enterprise: Digital Transformation Opportunity, created by research firm IDC suggests that any flaws in Android are over-represented in the media and often presented in a quite frightening manner. (1)
What is less examined are the security flaws in iOS. Apps can contain malware, data can be harvested, and it’s even possible to compromise an iOS device through Wi-Fi or remotely. The exploits for this kind of attack, along with the attacks on Android flaws, are there to be found and used, but they are not as frequent as you may be led to believe.
A further consideration is the established user base of each operating system. There are around 3.1 billion smartphones in use around the world, with Android running on 2.3 billion of those. (2) This gives iOS less than a 33% market share – other smartphone operating systems are available too, so the remaining 0.8 billion is not entirely iOS.
When a problem affects the majority of those devices, it is likely to receive more attention than a problem that has a smaller reach. It’s not that Android devices are less secure – it’s that there are more of them to target.
Which OS Is More Secure?
According to the IDC report, there is no correlation between the operating system that appears as a majority in any business comparative to the number of security incidents. Around 35%-40% of all businesses experienced some kind of security issue, and it did not matter if the majority of users were using iOS or Android.
While the report itself was sponsored by Google, the findings seem quite balanced with neither OS being given the upper hand. While iOS may appear more secure, there are actually more configurable options for securing Android than there are for iOS. The problem for many people may be finding the right setting in the first instance.
This is one reason why it is important to consult a professional Mobility Lifecycle Management (MLM) company when planning your enterprise mobility strategy. These companies will have great experience in configuring security for both operating systems (and maybe others too), and could save you a lot of time and effort while ensuring everything is as secure as possible.