Mobile Security: Can Business Phones Double As Personal Phones?

By | Mar 7, 2012

The United States government will be testing the next wave in mobile security this spring. LG, while not known for the most secure mobile devices in the world, will be providing the U.S. government with prototype phones that have two separate operating systems. The dual systems allow the user to run all business data and calls off one while keeping personal phone use secluded to the other operating system. Many won't agree with the government being the test monkey for high-tech security items, but if LG can pass the security requirements of the government then there is a good chance most businesses will be able to utilize this same technology.

Thankfully, this technology is not the same as desktop virtualization where you run as a guest on the host system according to InfoWorld. Instead, the OK Labs has produced a way for several different virtual devices to run at the same time all of the same core processor. This means that the items running on the business operating system can run at the same time as the items on the personal side without interaction between the two. The phone will be able to log into the secure server with only the business operating system. This comes as a relief to many in the IT world because personal devices are a common source of security breaches.

This change in mobile devices could save money for individuals and reduce the urge for employees to hook their personal phones to the business network. The introduction of these dual operating system phones could not come at a better time. Many IT departments are helping businesses determine whether to leave RIM's Blackberry phones and make a move to another smart phone operator. While making these change decisions, IT departments will also have to include whether they want to make use of the dual-OS phones. As of now, LG is the only manufacture of the phones but OK Labs have already confirmed that other phone manufacturers will be bringing out dual-OS phones of their own. OK Labs would not disclose what other manufactures are making a move to better mobile security.

Of course, there are other ways to help protect a business network from personal phone connections without upgrading every phone in the company. While many IT departments continue to reiterate the necessity of not hooking personal phones to the network, it still happens on a regular basis. Companies are working on applications that could help keep business data safe on personal phones, but until these apps are up and running, IT will have to keep working with employees to stress the importance of keeping the business network secure.

As more developers create applications that are extremely secure and apps to separate the type of data being accessed, the need for phones with a dual operating system could become smaller for some companies. Other companies may find that using the new security applications on top of the dual operating system phones could prove to be extremely helpful in keeping business data and networks extremely secure. Mobile security is heading in an amazing direction.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

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