Here’s how to take advantage of the Apple-Cisco partnership

wifiWe’ve been anxiously awaiting the fruits of the Apple-Cisco partnership and now we finally have the details.

Apple and Cisco have integrated their mobile and networking technologies to give users optimized Wi-Fi connectivity and streamlined VoIP capabilities, all while prioritizing business traffic. That means more reliable and faster speeds for employees connected to Cisco wireless networks.

Cisco and Apple have laid the groundwork for these enhancements, but system administrators will need to check a few boxes to make sure their users are up and running.

Let’s run through what network admins must know about these capabilities and how to enable them. Continue Reading…

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Here’s how to capitalize on iOS 9’s best new feature

devicesWhen Apple introduced iOS 9 in September, an unheralded but significant feature was included: the ability to assign apps to unique device identifiers rather than specific Apple IDs. This functionality allows companies to distribute apps to individual devices with little to no intervention on behalf of the end user.

Previously an absolute requirement of nearly any deployment, the Apple ID was doubly important since nearly every Mobile Device Management solution (MDM) requires an “agent.” Once downloaded from the App Store, agents patrol for common security breaches, such as “jailbreaking” devices, and allow devices to be found on a map through geolocation; without an agent, these imperative abilities are nonexistent. Continue Reading…

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Why enterprise iOS adoption surged before Apple’s mobile device management tools

iPad at workApple recently introduced a mobile device management enrollment solution for iOS that would make it easier for enterprise and education customers to roll out mass numbers of fully configured iPads or iPhones to employees without ever touching the device. For many in enterprise IT, this makes iOS a lot more appealing.

But that’s not to say the enterprise has ignored iPads and iPhones until now. In fact, Apple has made significant headway into the enterprise market over the last five years, with sales surging more than 1,000 percent at SHI. Not to mention that iOS activations made up 73 percent of total device activations in the fourth quarter of 2013 among enterprises.

Even before a solution existed for a smooth enterprise deployment, many pioneering organizations sought out iOS anyway, a testament to the strengths of Apple’s products. But still, having every user install the necessary apps and configure settings would have been a major drain on time and resources. Continue Reading…

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What iOS 7’s Activation Lock means for the enterprise

One of the bigger stories out of Apple’s introduction of iOS 7 at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) was its Activation Lock feature. Law enforcement officials have been calling on Apple and other phone manufacturers to proactively deter theft of their products as cellphone thefts rise, and Activation Lock seems to be Apple’s answer.

Activation Lock, if you haven’t yet heard, allows a user to lock a lost or stolen iPhone. The phone can’t be reactivated or wiped and resold without the user’s Apple ID and password. Law enforcement and users seem to like the change, but what about enterprises? What does Activation Lock mean to IT? Here are two major takeaways:

  1. Activation Lock creates a small risk. The one problem with Activation Lock in the enterprise is its potential to be misused by a disgruntled or laid off employee, who could conceivably turn in his or her phone, put an Activation Lock on it, and leave the company a brick as a farewell gift. This is unlikely but possible based on what we know about the feature. Apple, however, is probably aware of the potential sensitivities, and the feature will likely have safeguards, like a reclamation feature that would restore a phone that was improperly locked. But, we still don’t know all the details.
  2. Activation Lock is for users, not businesses. While it makes sense that average iPhone users would want a way to lock their phone in the event it’s lost or stolen, enterprises are less concerned about the reselling of a stolen phone. Higher on the list of IT priorities is data loss or leaks. And these companies should already have MDM solutions in place to remote wipe devices that go missing. Continue Reading…
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Mobile device management at the application layer

In this era of tech-savvy business people using their personal devices to work, employees are concerned that if they lose their device — or if it’s stolen — the company will wipe it clean to protect any sensitive company data. Now, it’s not a mobile device management (MDM) manager’s job to care if a few personal pictures get lost, but they should realize that end users do care, and as a result might attempt to circumvent the MDM to keep their personal contacts, photos, and other information safe.

MDM suppliers are looking to secure smart devices from the application layer because of this shift in mentality to keep personal and corporate information separate. It’s a double-edged sword, because employees want an unobtrusive tool that doesn’t contain a lot of oversight but also allows IT to stay up-to-date on their organization’s security requirements.

Can you be non-intrusive and secure?

The most requested feature of 2012 we heard from customers was the ability to wipe corporate data off of a device without deleting the contents of the entire device. That’s been the problem so far with most MDM solutions – they treat the device as a single container and make it work in a way that the organization dictates. With the shift to managing the applications, you give the user a chance to use the device as they intended, while allowing for extra management of content and security.

One problem that arises when you look further into application management is that app markets like the Google Play Store do very little in terms of vetting applications before they’re made available to the public. Though they’re making a more concerted effort now than a few months ago, the amount of oversight is still fairly low. From an MDM perspective, if you knew the name of an application you could add it to a blacklist, but malicious applications tend to multiply by the thousands every day. It would be nearly impossible to block them all. Continue Reading…

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