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MDM Firms Prep Enterprises for iOS 7

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New iPhones don’t have to spark old “bring your own device” (BYOD) concerns, according to mobile device management (MDM) companies that got a head start in welcoming the sought-after devices to the market.

Apple’s new candy-colored iPhone 5c and updated flagship, the iPhone 5s, hit store shelves on Friday, Sept. 20 and early indications are that the smartphones are already shaping up to be another hit for the Cupertino, Calif.-based device maker. MDM companies are signaling that come Monday, they may also be a hit with organizations with BYOD-friendly policies.

Popular MDM startup Air Watch announced “same-day, complete management support for iOS 7.” AirWatch CEO John Marshall characterized iOS 7 as “the most significant update we’ve seen from Apple throughout the evolution of iOS in the enterprise.”

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Good Technology is already prepared for the arrival of Apple’s latest iPhones and the new iOS7, their corresponding mobile operating system, which was released as an update for older iPhones and iPads on Sept. 18. Its customers will be too, when employees start sporting their new gadgets.

Claiming to be the “first secure mobility provider to deliver enterprise collaboration and productivity for iOS 7,” the company announced that its customers “will be able to upgrade to iOS 7 without any delays in service, exposure of data or compromised security.” Good’s platform also extends app management and security to iOS 7 compatible offerings from partners, including Autonomy, Box, Branchfire/iAnnotate, SplashTop and Webalo.

“By securing entire workflows, facilitating the development of numerous iOS 7-compatible enterprise apps, and simplifying management of iOS 7 within the types of diverse mobile environments typical today, Good is uniquely enabling enterprises to truly embrace iOS 7 as part of their mobilization strategy,” stated Good Technology CEO Christy Wyatt in company remarks.

MobileIron also announced support for iOS 7. “Apple’s iOS 7 brings over 200 new consumer and business features to iOS devices, including over 40 features specifically focused on EMM [enterprise mobility management] capabilities,” said the company in a statement.

In a blog post, MobileIron’s Jake Woodhams singled out iOS 7’s top enterprise features, namely Open In Management, Managed App Configuration, Per App VPN and Enterprise Single Sign-On (SSO). Managed App Configuration, for example, stands to make corporate IT administrators’ lives much easier, he explained.

“In iOS 7, Apple has extended their protocol to allow companies like MobileIron to automatically distribute app configurations to managed apps. For the mobile end-user, managed apps “just work” after installation; for IT, it’s much easier to manage at scale,” wrote Woodhams.

Sophos, one of many antivirus-turned-MDM companies, also jumped on the iOS 7 bandwagon. Its Sophos Mobile Control (SMC) platform has been updated to 3.6 and now integrates with the new mobile operating system. In a statement, John Shaw, Vice President for end user security products at Sophos, described iOS 7 as “a huge step forward in enabling personal devices to be used securely at work” and added that his company is “delighted to be extending the benefits to our partners and customers.”

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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