Early Reports Examine Nexus One Security

Carl Weinschenk

There are stories that just have to be done, such as a radio standup from a railway platform on the morning of the coldest day of the year. ("Yup, it's pretty darn cold up here, Bob. Back to you guys in the studio.") On the technical front, one such obligatory story is whether the latest and greatest smartphone-the Nexus One, in this case-is a good idea for enterprise users.


Of course, it's inevitable that any mobile device will be used by a lot of folks for work, regardless of what the bosses say. The question is whether the device should be given the official seal of approval and supported by the IT department.

Much of the discussion to this point has touched on security. ReadWrite Enterprise says the new Google entry "is not built as a device that meets compliance requirements." The piece doesn't specify what the compliance is to, but the likelihood is that the writer is referring to Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA and other regulations that throw a tight blanket over wireless and cellular communications.


The takeaway is clear, despite the story's lack of precision: Companies that want to use the Nexus One safely have some work to do so. Dan Dearing, Trust Digital's Vice President of Marketing and Product Management, is quoted as saying that introducing ways of locking and wiping the Nexus One are important. Users, he said, should install Exchange ActiveSync, procedures for remotely provisioning of interfaces and application clients. Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) security should be supported. Dearing warns that the Nexus One is less secure than the iPhone.


Nexus One security isn't universally criticized, however. eWeek also tackled the issue. The story quotes Forrester Research Andrew Jaquith, who says that the Nexus One "stacks up favorably against other smartphones." Jaquith notes that each application is isolated from other apps and runs in its own process. Jaquith offers a fairly technical explanation of the security elements of the Nexus One and its Android security, and compares it to the iPhone. It's not clear to a non expert which is favored, but neither is labeled as being clearly superior. The story says that experts generally agree that the biggest challenge to smartphone security is the physical loss of the devices.


The success of a smartphone in the enterprise isn't solely determined by its security status.Writing at PC World, David Coursey takes a non security and, for that matter, non-technical approach. He focuses on pricing and carrier availability, not the attributes of the phone itself. His conclusion is clear: That unless the user has taken the dive into Google's myriad products-"Gone Google," in his words -- the Nexus One is not a recommended option for business

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