Bring your own device has allowed enterprise users the freedom to choose which smartphone device they preferred. And users have spoken. Apple iOS continues to dominate in almost all regions. Our recent cloud report shows 68% of all activations in 2013 in North America were iOS. Just 30% were Android. After BlackBerry’s reign dissolved, the iPhone and iPad are the leading mobile enterprise devices. Android is slowly gaining in the enterprise but has been hampered by known and perceived security issues as well as management problems due to fragmentation. Today these two OSes though, iOS and Android have approximately 98%  marketshare in the enterprise, should enterprises care anymore which one their users pick?

On one hand, iOS offers a much easier platform to manage. There aren’t many different types of models of iPhones and most users upgrade the OS as soon as a new version is out. Fragmentation is almost non-existent as are iOS viruses and malware. Most users typically enjoy the experience  and have few problems. Rarely does tech support get a call from an iOS users after initial startup. Of course, Apple restricts some of the management of the device, based on the APIs it opens, but has increasingly been focusing on the enterprise user as a target. Android on the other hand, is completely opposite here. Based on open source software provided from Google, each of the device manufacturers customize it, there are many different versions of the OS available and hundreds of device-types. It’s not considered as user friendly–except for the price. One of the main reasons Android has such high overall market share, 78% in 2013 according to Gartner, is that it has more devices at lower price points. So companies are dealing with some users that prefer iOS and others Android.

So what are some of the key best practices. These include:

  • Segment Users–not all users have the same requirements, figure those out based on application needs and mobility!
  • Create Policy–but don’t just make it, make sure everyone knows about it and (pretends) to follow.
  • Find a balance between security and personal freedom–easier said than done, but it does exist.
  • Address privacy upfront–don’t wait until an incident happens, prepare for it, weather it is about GPS, wiping data or segregating data.
  • Track the mobile lifecycle and use as your planning process (see Exhibit 1)
Exhibit 1         Mobile Lifecycle Process

In the end, it does’t really matter. Both can be managed and secured to the majority of enterprise requirements, neither costs more or less to manage and both are configurable by IT. In our session 261 called “Best practices for maintaining control over Android and iOS tablets and smartphones,” at Citrix Synergy 2014, Kurt Roemer and I look at some more of these differences, assess best practices, provide examples of user segmentation, and take on the iOS versus Android debate. See his blog on Android best practices here. Hope to see you there!

Phillip Redman (@MobilePhillip) is VP Mobility & Strategy at Citrix and uses both iOS and Android devices (and sometimes Windows). But never BlackBerry anymore. Sigh. Oh yeah, and: Citrix invited the author of this blog post to present at Citrix Synergy 2014 and to participate in a related contest.  The author received an entry into the contest for submitting this Blog.