Apple's iOS platform has been cleared for use by the US military as an approved mobile platform.
The US Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has declared the iOS platform to be suitably secure for use in field applications. The Apple platform passed the requirements for the Security Technical Implementation Guide (STIG), which outlines policies for the secure management of mobile handsets.
By complying with the guide, Apple now finds itself able to sell the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch lines to the US Department of Defense, potentially granting the company access to lucrative US government contracts.
The DISA noted that the iOS platform was able to meet specific guidelines around the remote management of devices, including handsets and tablets which could be lost or stolen.
“All of these pieces must be in place to allow the secure use of commercial mobile devices on department networks,” said Mark Orndorff, information assurance executive and program executive officer for mission assurance and network operations at DISA.
“DISA is running a pilot program today where we bring this all together.”
The agency noted that Apple is not the only company to have met its security standards. The BlackBerry platform and Samsung's Knox platform also meet the STIG requirements and are cleared for defense use.
Apple's approval could, however, pose a threat to BlackBerry's stranglehold on the Department of Defense mobile market. Renowned for its security features, the BlackBerry platform currently runs on some 470,000 devices according to a Department of Defense pilot study, Apple supplies just 41,000 and Android powers some 8,700 devices.