Apple hires military man as director of security

Apple is hoping to address security concerns that could leave its popular iPad tablet dead in the corporate water when RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook launches later this year, by hiring security consultant David Rice as director of global security.

Rice, a graduate of the US Naval Academy and previously a 'vulnerabilities analyst' for top-secret US spy outfit the National Security Agency and a cryptologist for the US Navy, will head up the company's overall security efforts throughout its entire product range according to a report on the hiring by CNET.

Although not yet confirmed by Apple or Rice, the claims make sense: Apple needs to convince enterprise customers that its platforms offer high security, especially in the mobile sector - and with the BlackBerry PlayBook, which includes integrated end-to-end encryption technologies and full corporate monitoring and control systems, launching later this year, it needs to do so sooner rather than later.

With the tablet market becoming increasingly crowded, and the consumer end largely saturated - at least, until the cheaper tablets start becoming usable - enterprise and corporate use is the target Apple will be aiming for. Until it can offer the same appearance of security as that promised by RIM in the PlayBook, it's going to struggle - despite its undeniable success in the consumer markets.

Rice, a well-known figure in the world of information security, is the latest in a string of high-profile hirings in Apple's security department, including ex-Mozilla member Window Snyder and encryption expert Jon Callas last year, and former head of security at the One Lapop Per Child project Ivan Krstic in 2009.