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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