Security concerns counter the bring your own device trend

Malware 04.19.2013Enlarge GraphWhile the “bring your own device” initiative has been gaining steam, which allows an employee to plug their mobile device of choice into a corporate network, security concerns may eventually shape which companies will be winners or losers within this trend.

In a recent study, we highlighted that the “bring your own device” trend is boosting the number of Android (the mobile operating system owned by Google) and Apple (AAPL) devices in the corporate landscape (click here for our most recent report). However, the benefit of being an open source platform, which has been one of the main reasons for the fast growth of Android devices, may in fact be the reason that Android devices eventually loses market share within the corporate landscape.

According to security firm McAfee, most of the malware on mobile devices, which is malicious software that attempts to disrupt the operation of computer systems and also potentially extract sensitive information, resides on Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system. McAfee reports that in its survey of leading mobile operating systems, including Symbian, Java, and all Others, Android had 97% of all malware directed at its platform. This dire statistic, as of the fourth quarter of 2012, may eventually boost the demand for Apple and Microsoft run devices as neither operating system made the McAfee survey.

The mobile market for corporate enterprise capable phones continues to open up with incumbent leader Blackberry (BBRY) most at risk to losing existing market share. Historically viewed as the most secure devices, the emergence of Apple and Microsoft run devices have proven to be just as secure as formerly well run Blackberry devices. Recently, several government agencies, including the U.S. Defense Department with its 450,000 current BBRY devices, will be opening up their platforms in February 2014 to handle devices run by Apple, Microsoft, and Android. With its new Blackberry 10 handsets introduced this year (see our previous report on this introduction), BBRY will have a chance to keep this existing business. However, what is clear is that mobile users are taking advantage of having the choice of which handsets to use and have been moving away from Blackberry. This trend has  boosted the demand for Android, Microsoft, and Apple run devices, but with this new survey by McAfee it may be Apple and Microsoft that competitively have a slight leg up over Android. What does look most certain is that Blackberry will have the biggest challenge maintaining its current enterprise user base with new more fungible corporate networks.