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iOS and Android cleared for US military use – but not BYOD

Apple and Samsung have joined BlackBerry in gaining US Department of Defense approval for US military use. But the military has to buy them – you can’t use your own.

BlackBerry has been the dominant smartphone in the US military, with 470,000 of the 600,000 devices in use by the military. Two weeks ago Samsung devices were approved, and now Apple has been given the thumbs up.

Samsung worked with the US National Security Agency to create a secure version of the Android OS called Knox with multiple layers of software and hardware protection. The S4 is the first Knox approved device. Samsung has been anxiously waiting for this approval as it heralds a turnaround in the security issues that have dogged wider Android adoption by enterprise. Knox will find its way into consumer devices sooner rather than later.

Apple iOS has always been reasonably secure but this exercise proves Apple has what it takes and it will leverage this approval in the corporate space, which is where the money is.

BlackBerry will need to leverage the devices it already has in the US military and implement strategies to help it garner a larger share of the now very much increased pie it now has to share with other players. The potential take up of these consumer devices is around eight million handsets, and Department of Defense will create a military mobile applications store to handle integration of the devices.

The devices are approved under the Defense Information Systems Agency’s Security Technical Implementation Guide (STIG). Approval of the STIG means that government-issued mobile devices are approved for use when connecting to DOD networks within current mobility pilots or the future mobile device management framework.

The DOD mobility strategy includes mobile devices configured to the STIG, in combination with an actively managed and defended Mobility Device Management (MDM) system. The MDM provides a process for managing and distributing mobile applications and an enhanced cyber defence infrastructure.

“The Apple STIG and the recently-approved STIGs for the BlackBerry and Samsung Knox operating systems demonstrate DISA’s commitment to validate a range of devices that meet DoD security standards so the best technology is available to achieve DoD mission requirements,” said the DoD in a statement.

Actual orders will be tied to identification of specific operational requirements and funding availability of using organisations. The STIG does not allow personally acquired mobile devices to connect to DOD networks.



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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!


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