We’re not sure he’s ever said anything remotely accurate about technology; Daring Fireball takes him to task about his most recent absurd pronouncements in re: the as-yet-unreleased iPhone, but we’ll go a little point-by-point here because it’s fun to pull wings off flies like Rob.
From the linked story:
Image-conscious executives who want to own the latest tech gadgets might put their companies at risk if they try to connect iPhones to corporate networks, warns an analyst
Yes, it’s possible some execs will have trouble connecting the iPhone to their corporate mail, but only because many corporate mail servers are proprietary (Notes, Exchange) instead of standards-based (POP, IMAP), but there’s no evidence at all that successful attempts to do so will result in “risk.” The article, by the way, lists none to back up this assertion; it’s a total bullshit lede.
To guard against such eventualities, IT departments should begin drafting policies forbidding executives from connecting their Apple iPhones to company networks, said Rob Enderle, a principal analyst with the Enderle Group based in San Jose, Calif.
We wonder, as does DF, what other analysts work at this “Group”.
“The device isn’t secure enough, nor is it designed to run with corporate systems,” he said.
We have no idea how he knows if the device is “secure enough,” since none have been released for testing. Since it’s currently a closed platform with no software channel other than Apple, it strikes us as a pretty unlikely vector for attack at this point. Nothing else is knowable, which means Enderle is talking out of his ass.
Companies spend a lot of time getting RIM and Palm handheld devices up to par so they can be secure enough to connect to company e-mail, he said.
Really? Are you sure, Rob? Because I’ve done these things, and have seen no evidence of any such time investment. Blackberry integration with closed back-end systems involves an (expensive) add-on server, that’s true, but if your company uses IMAP or POP, there’s basically ZERO effort required to connect these tools. They exist as just another mail client. Mail clients, with the enormous exception of Outlook, are not typically virus vectors or security risks.
Before the iPhone is as secure as the BlackBerry and Treo, it needs a product such as Good Technology Mobile, which is designed to securely deliver enterprise applications to mobile devices. But now that Good Technology has been bought by Motorola, it’s unclear whether it’d be interested in creating a product for Apple’s iPhone, Enderle said.
Aaaaah, now we see the thrust of the article, if it can be called that. We Heathen aren’t exactly technological neophytes, and here’s the news: We’ve never heard of this “Good Technology Mobile.” We suspect, therefore, that this bit is actually a thinly veiled press release on their behalf, set up by Enderle.
Think of it this way: Execs with Mobile Device X typically want only a few functions.
- Phone, first and foremost
- The ability to view Office attachments
- Synced calendar and address book
All of these functions are CORE attributes of the Treo and the Blackberry, and are expected to be available on the iPhone. No additional software is required. We suspect that 99.9% of Blackberry users never bother adding any additional software, and that this percentage is only a little lower for the Palm-based Treo (which has a long tradition of add-on gadgets, games, and such dating back to its launch as a non-phone PDA in 1996).
The idea that corporations need some “secure channel” to control software installation on these gadgets is therefore absurd on its face. There’s very little business need to do so for the vast majority of users, and even in cases where it’s needed, the installation is trivial. We’re sure, of course, that some clueless IT directors will seize on this opportunity to control MORE systems, but the need really just isn’t there.
Leaving all that aside, though, remember this: the iPhone is closed. This means nobody but Apple can sell you software for it. Daring Fireball addresses this very well:
Enderle and Khanna are arguing that the iPhone is insecure because it doesn’t (at least yet) allow for third-party software, which means you can’t install third-party software designed to let you securely install additional third-party software.
Seriously, what the hell?
Enderle even invokes the corporate boogeyman du jour:
But because of the iPhone’s attractive form factor, executives are likely to start buying it when it becomes available in June in the U.S., and tech departments need to head them off at the pass by issuing policies that forbid iPhones from being connected to networks, Enderle said.
If executives insist on connecting iPhones, then the IT department has a duty to report the violation since it could mean that Sarbanes-Oxley or other compliance rules have been broken, Enderle said.
We figure RIM must be paying him as much as these “Good Technology” people for a remark like that. He’s not established in any meaningful sense how the as-yet-hypothetical iPhone might constitute a security problem, but he’s already banging the drum to get it banned by corporate fiat. We’re pretty sure we all know how well edicts like that are typically followed; since we’re talking about execs with money to burn on fancy gadgets, we’re probably also talking about people who can cheerfully flaunt whatever bullshit regulations the IT director pushes — after all, if the money-printing sales VP wants the iPhone, odds are he’s gonna get it.
Furthermore, we’re unsure where SarBox mandates RIM- or Treo-only mobile devices in corporate America, so we’re also not sure exactly what “violations” Enderle is talking about.
Again: Why the hell do people keep listening to this jackass? He’s made it abundantly obvious over the years that he cares far more about slamming Apple (and the Open Source world, another favorite target) than he cares about being right or the truth. Virtually nothing we’ve read of his can withstand even basic scrutiny; he’s like a weird Bizarro-world FUD machine, constantly shilling for Microsoft, SCO, and doing anything he can to pull down Open Source and Apple. Worse, a cursory review of his history will also show that he has no compunctions about making pronouncements and predictions in favor of paying clients, which you’d think would pretty much sunder his credibility, and yet here he is again, babbling about the iPhone.
Dear tech media: Please stop quoting this dork. Thanks.