Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Managing iPhone in the Enterprise

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As the iPhone grows ever more popular, it poses a growing challenge to enterprise IT managers. Here’s a guide to managing this ubiquitous consumer device in the workplace.

When Apple announced the latest version of its mobile OS back in April, one of the more exciting additions for mobile IT departments was the inclusion of a number of enterprise features.

The iPhone and Apple’s other iOS devices have long fallen short in meeting some of the needs and demands in the enterprise space. Reliance on iTunes, the inability to automatically push out policies and software updates over the air, limited security capabilities, and the requirement of Exchange ActiveSync for remote wipe of a lost or stolen device were all major concerns.

While Apple has steadily improved iOS as an enterprise citizen with each major update, iOS 4 is the first to really provide solid management capabilities.

So how do you leverage them in your organization?

Primarily by using a third-party management server. Although Apple created the framework for iOS device management that is built into iOS 4 through a new mobile device management (or MDM) service, the company worked with other firms that have a strong background in mobile device and/or computer management solutions to deliver a management console. The result is seven vendors providing solutions using Apple’s new architecture. All of these can be used in conjunction with the existing capabilities provided by Exchange sync and Apple’s own iPhone Configuration Utility.

Deployment and management challenges before iOS 4

Before iOS 4, iOS device management was limited to a set of configuration profiles that had to be manually installed. These XML files could be installed by a technician while activating a user’s iPhone directly from Apple’s iPhone Configuration Utility (which is also used to create the profiles). It could also be done by a user or technician downloading the file(s) from a website or opening them as email attachments. A handful of additional configurations (largely dealing with device security policies) could be propagated to devices configured to access an organizations Exchange infrastructure.

Read the rest at Enterprise Mobile Today.

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