Apple's iPhone 5S beefs up BYOD security with fingerprint reader, Touch ID

Over half of CIOs surveyed by Robert Half said security is biggest BYOD challenge

The fingerprint reader combined with the Touch ID architecture on the new Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone 5S could help enterprises with BYOD security, which is top most in the minds of many CIOs.

The fingerprint reader and Touch ID architecture in the new iPhone 5S are the result of Apple's $356 million acquisition of AuthenTec. The new technology should help CIOs and IT admins improve BYOD security.

"IT admins are always worried about security (or at least they should be), and while the iPhone, like its Android counterparts, allows for remote wiping of devices, biometric protection takes iPhone security to the next level," wrote Adrian Kingsley-Hughes in a recent ZDNet article.

The Touch ID architecture enables two-factor authentication by combining the fingerprint with a passcode. "This puts an extra level of security between users and the corporate network for enterprise and BYOD users," Kingsley Hughes noted.

"Adding fingerprint authentication, along with the new features in iOS 7 that tie an iPhone to a specific Apple ID in such a way that it can survive a total wipe, means that the iPhone 5s will be far less attractive to rogues and miscreants," he added.

Marcus Carey, with security firm Threat Agent, agrees. "We need two factor and biometrics ... Apple brings it," he wrote in a tweet.

At the same time, the Fast Identity Online (FIDO) Alliance cautioned that Apple needs to use open standards for interoperability. "No matter how good an authentication solution may be--Apple's or any others--until there are open standards for interoperability, the backend and the need for federated identity cannot be addressed, and nothing really changes," FIDO was quoted by the IDG News Service as saying.

BYOD security is definitely on the minds of CIOs. A survey of 100 CIOs in the United Kingdom by Robert Half Technology released on Wednesday found that over half of CIOs cited security as their biggest challenge when it comes to BYOD.

"Although CIOs have security concerns when considering BYOD policies, their teams are best-placed to implement the correct infrastructure to support extra devices in a safe environment and to understand the impact of extra devices and apps on the network," commented Phil Sheridan, managing director of Robert Half Technology.

For more:
- see the ZDNet article
- check out Carey's tweet
- read the IDG story
- check out the Robert Half survey

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