Gartner Research

Comparing Security Controls for Handheld Devices

Published: 22 January 2012

ID: G00224670

Analyst(s): Eric Maiwald , Mario de Boer


Handheld devices, such as smartphones and tablets, contain powerful processors, memory, and communications capabilities that make them, in reality, small versions of desktop computers. Handheld devices frequently contain sensitive information, and therefore, they must be protected. In this assessment, Research Director Mario de Boer and Vice President Eric Maiwald compare and analyze the security controls of the most popular handheld-device platforms in an effort to inform enterprises as to how to manage the risks these devices present.

Table Of Contents

Summary of Findings


  • Drivers for Handheld Device Security
  • Risks to Data on Handheld Devices
    • Insiders
    • Direct Attack
    • Malicious Software
    • Physical Loss or Theft
  • Controls
    • Authentication
    • Encryption
    • Device Wipe
    • Device Firewall
    • Secure Browsing
    • Anti-malware
    • Backup and Restore
    • Jailbreak Detection
    • Isolation
    • Privacy Controls
    • Secure Remote Access
    • Application Vetting
    • Application Monitoring and Control
  • Solution Approaches
    • Platform Security Controls
    • Client Solutions
    • MDM
  • Future Considerations
    • Changes to Devices and Controls
    • Increase in Number and Sophistication of Malware Attacks
    • Client Virtualization


  • Controls and Solution Approaches
  • Platform Security Controls
  • Make Decisions About Handheld Devices
  • Identify Use Cases for the Devices
  • Define a Policy for Governance of Handheld Devices
  • Develop a Plan to Manage the Devices

The Details

  • Endpoint Protection Clients
  • Application Containers
  • Device Management Agents


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