Security of iOS devices has long been a sticking point for enterprises, and some have complained that Apple didn't listen to their security concerns. With the introduction of its new Touch ID fingerprint biometric device, Apple shows that it isn't entirely tone-deaf to the security challenges of business customers. The feature, currently available only on the iPhone5S, adds another layer of security to not only device access but also application and account access.
Managed Open-In Adds App Control
Apple's new managed open-in feature aims to give businesses a way to put a leash on sensitive data running through corporate apps. Businesses set policies via MDM or mobile application management software that can control which apps and accounts can be used to open specific documents and attachments. This not only ensures that businesses documents can be opened only in corporate apps, but also that personal documents can't be opened in those managed business apps.
Remote Application Configuration
Apple has built in more capabilities for control of applications via MDM with its new managed application configuration functionality, which centralizes remote management of application configurations and pushes out standardized configurations in bulk.
MDM Enrollment Enhancements
With iOS 7, Apple made a number of important changes in the way its mobile operating system interacts with MDM platforms. One of the most noticeable convenience functions added for enterprises is the streamlined enrollment process for on-boarding enterprise-managed iOS devices, which is now directly embedded into the device set-up screens.
Volume Purchase Program Improved
Apple announced it will soon improve the flexibility of its Volume Purchase Program, offering businesses greater flexibility and control in how they use the licenses they purchase for apps. The refinement will allow organizations to recycle licenses among employees so that a license can easily be transferred if an employee leaves the company or stops using the app, regardless of whether the device they use is their own.
Apple hopes to solve the productivity software gap by finally offering its iWork suite out of the gate for all new iOS devices. Offered as a free download, the software should offer more affordable on-the-go efficiency for workers who need to access and edit documents without the hassle of firing up their laptops.
Easing Into Single Sign On
Managing secure and convenient access control has long been a sticking point for enterprises looking to embrace the iOS ecosystem. Apple is hoping to unstick it with the introduction of enterprise single sign-on support in iOS 7, which stores app and account credentials on the device in a way that makes it possible for users to use one set of credentials for multiple accounts within their device.
Availability Of Per App VPN
Now business users don't have to run their entire mobile lives through the VPN. This added feature makes it possible to pick and choose which applications must connect through secure communications and which can risk it with a normal connection. And the policy control on this functionality can be centrally controlled via MDM.
iPad Air Hints At Enterprise Devices
The new naming convention of iPad Air has pundits guessing that a new business-class tablet could be on the way soon if Apple holds to the trend set by MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. As is, iPad Air itself has amped up business appeal with its lighter weight, beefed up processing power and improved battery life.
AirDrop For Collaboration
Though it is primarily a consumer-focused feature at the moment, designed for easy device-to-device sharing of photos, videos and Web pages, the new AirDrop feature could offer another level of business collaboration for enterprise road warriors. The caveat here could be whether IT will have a degree of control over who uses AirDrop and how they use it. Though no announcements have been made, one possibility could be Apple offering control via its new managed "Open In" feature.
Ericka Chickowski specializes in coverage of information technology and business innovation. She has focused on information security for the better part of a decade and regularly writes about the security industry as a contributor to Dark Reading. View Full Bio