updated 01:35 pm EDT, Tue August 5, 2008
Gartner & corp. iPhone use
Corporations should limit their support for the iPhone, says the Gartner research group. Analyst Ken Dulaney notes that although the iPhone 2.0 firmware now supports a variety of corporate-friendly features, most notably Exchange sync, traffic encryption and remote wiping, holes remain in its security. The primary issue is encryption, because while iPhones can now operate on encrypted networks, it is currently impossible to encrypt local files, leaving data exposed in cases of physical theft.
Dulaney observes that while Apple insists there is an API for such encryption, it has not provided anything further. It instead appears that third-party developers are expected to write this software, even though they have restricted access to the API.
Another qualm exists with Apple's firmware delivery, since it requires each user to have a copy of iTunes on his desktop, which by default can install updates without IT manager approval. Apple's own iTunes registry controls are not enough, says Dulaney, who instead favors that businesses use their own controls to disable automatic firmware upgrades and other file transfers.
The iPhone is also said to have issues outside of security, namely roaming, because the intense data focus of the iPhone can lead to massive data bills when roaming in another country. Battery life has also proved problematic, with Dulaney noting that he has rarely been able to keep the iPhone 3G on for a "full day of use." The issue is attributed either to Wi-Fi or Exchange's ActiveSync technology, which may be draining power by constantly polling the network for new e-mail.