August 6, 2012 -
The proposed acquisition of AuthenTec by Apple is set to provide iPhones and iPads with a level of mobile device security required for business. This move has sparked speculation concerning Apple’s future direction.
For many year’s Research in Motion’s Blackberry device was considered the only secure, enterprise-ready device in the mobile marketplace because of its integrated hardware, software and network security. However, that is set to change. With the acquisition of Florida-based AuthenTec, Apple will gain mobile device security technology that enterprises and IT professionals demand.
“This new IP would give Apple the opportunity to authenticate and manage data on iOS devices,” said Tim Crawford, an independent enterprise IT consultant.
AuthenTec is an expert in fingerprint-authentication security used by computer companies and even Apple’s rival, Samsung. Crawford said that with the acquisition of AuthenTec’s VPN client, Apple would gain a competitive advantage to extend its security reach to the network, similar to Research in Motion’s (RIM) enterprise server.
As Bob Egan, founder of the Sepharim Group, said: “IT shops may welcome Apple’s enterprise play as they seek a security alternative to RIM for corporate-controlled devices.” He further noted that “Apple has a huge advantage with users already, and the company seems to be taking enterprise security needs seriously.”
Recently, the Android mobile platform has experienced malware attacks and Trojan Horse viruses in their applications, which has made many companies wary of using it.
Due to the “bring your own device” to the workplace trend, many enterprises have decided to support Apple’s mobile and computing devices. During Apple’s last investor conference call, it was pointed out that sales for iPhones had doubled last year while iPads had tripled. So, it is not surprising that mobile enterprise applications are a major projected area of future growth for Apple and with it, the need for enterprise mobile security. For this reason, the acquisition of AuthenTec makes sense.
Fingerprint scanning has been used in laptops. However, the trend is changing especially with “bring your own” smartphones and tablets entering the enterprise. Being mobile requires a different kind of security. For one, smart phones and tablets can easily be lost. And, for Apple, the use of iCloud for storing data and information will be intensified. This highlights the importance of using biometric technologies, such as fingerprint, voice or iris scanning, in mobile devices to access these facilities. It is a convenient security measure for users and beneficial to enterprises.
Will the “bring your own” mobile device trend drive mobile biometric security measures for the enterprise?