The UK government has hinted that it will approve new mobile platforms for use in the public sector, such as Android devices using Samsung’s Knox service and Apple's iOS platform.
V3 contacted the Cabinet Office for an update on its strategy towards mobile devices that have been approved for use within government and military departments after the US Department of Defense approved Samsung Knox and BlackBerry 10 devices.
In a statement to V3, a spokesperson refused to refer to any platforms by name but the wording strongly suggests that platforms beyond BlackBerry are being considered, and likely to be approved.
"CESG [the Information Assurance arm of the Government Communications Headquarters] are tackling the same issue and will be producing security guidance for a wide range of mobile platforms later this year. The guidance will allow the UK public sector to use a much wider range of mobile devices as securely as possible,” the spokesperson said.
Earlier this year the government came out to deny reports that circulated suggesting BlackBerry’s new BB10 platform was set to fail its security processes. Given the long-standing use of BlackBerry device’s within government and secure enterprises, it would be highly surprising if BB10 was not approved.
The approval of Samsung’s Knox service by the DoD in the US, though, is more notable, as for many years Android has been considered far too insecure for government use. The DoD is also expected to approve iOS use later this month.
As such, the wording of the Cabinet Office statement, referring to the fact it’s "tackling the same issues" and expects to allow departments to use "a much wider range of devices" certainly makes it sound as if more platforms are to be approved.
Whether this also includes Windows Phone devices from Microsoft remains to be seen. Nonetheless it represents an interesting next stage in ongoing shifts in the mobile industry and will put more pressure on BlackBerry to compete in its traditional core markets.
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