iPhone Infiltrates Corporate World with Help of Security Apps

By Reuters  |  Print this article Print

While the corporate world used to be the nearly exclusive domain of the RIM BlackBerry smartphone, security apps created by third party developers are helping Apple's iPhone gain a foothold in companies.

TORONTO/SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 24 (Reuters) - A slew of small security software developers are helping Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone gain a foothold within corporations that were once the exclusive domain of Research In Motion's (TO:RIM) BlackBerry.

The shift reflects efforts by some companies to accommodate the preference of many employees for Apple's iconic smartphone, a trend that has led software makers to develop programs to deliver secure email and other data over the iPhone.

To be sure, the status of BlackBerry's security features as the industry standard is not under threat. But the new programs could mean that many employees may no longer have to carry a company-sponsored BlackBerry in addition to their store-bought iPhones.

One company that is experimenting is Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn). In conjunction with California-based software maker Good Technology, the German bank is delivering corporate email to some employees in a trial that its internal analyst said was "overwhelmingly positive" despite some minor flaws.

"You're seeing consumers, or employees, bring their iPhones in to IT managers and 'say make this work,'" Deutsche's Chris Whitmore said by telephone.

Good and other security specialists like MobileIron and NetHawk are developing programs that can provide the extra assurances required by financial services and healthcare providers, which require airtight communications.

"What they're very good at doing is going into an enterprise where they're very concerned about security and say we're going to beef up the iPhone and iPad because they're not very secure," analyst Jack Gold of J.Gold Associates said, referring to Good Technologies.

"It basically puts a lockbox around an unsecure device," he said.

Good says it has more than 4,000 enterprise customers, including 40 Fortune 100 companies and more than 100 of the Fortune 500 companies.