BYOD, MDM, Consumerization (Mobile Strategies) Tips of 2013 – Part 1

Consumerization, BYOD, managing mobile devices and the cloud have been hot topics for IT professionals this year, and there has been a lot to keep up on.

Mobile devices and operating systems kept the bring your own device (BYOD) trend going strong and essential questions about how best to handle mobile strategies, mobile device management (MDM), workers’ cloud use and more. Read up on the 2013’s  most popular tips:

Tip 1: iOS 7 features for IT

Apple’s iOS 7 came out this year and brought with it some new tools for managing mobile devices and applications. Managed open in, per app VPN (virtual private network) access, an improved Volume Purchase Program and an updated MDM protocol can all help IT administrators retain control over iOS devices.

Many exciting consumer-focused features were shown at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference, but some of the real benefits of iOS 7 come from Apple’s efforts to be the mobile enterprise manufacturer of choice. From mobile device management options to per app VPN access, iOS 7 offers quite a few enterprise features that IT should get to know.

MDM in Apple iOS 7

Open in management. This Apple iOS 7 feature gives IT the ability to control which apps workers can use to open and share documents and attachments. For example, if a user receives a Microsoft Word attachment in his email and wants to open it in a third-party app, IT will have approved certain apps — such as Quickoffice — that can open that document.

Easier MDM enrollment. IT can set up corporate-owned iOS 7 devices with all their MDM requirements right away, rather than sending out the devices to the employees and having them set them up. The less time and money it takes to set up devices, the more devices that IT can procure for the workforce.

Enterprise SSO. Single sign-on (SSO) allows workers to log in only once and gain access to all their apps, including corporate-developed and App Store apps. As the years go by and companies switch to being mobile-only, users will appreciate not having to enter their username and password everywhere.

Other Apple iOS 7 features

Per app VPN: This feature configures apps to connect to the virtual private network (VPN) upon launch. It’s another tool that should make IT happy, but there are questions around how per app VPN works in conjunction with an MDM system.

Many company-developed and third-party apps need to have code within them to be managed by MDM. The per app VPN feature may allow IT to manage iOS 7 devices without any special code, or perhaps every time users open an app, they’ll be prompted to sign into the VPN. Plus, there may be differences in security measures; some MDM tools sandbox and encrypt data in different ways, and most VPN applications just protect a URL or path for data to travel over securely.

Third-party app data protection: Data protection uses workers’ passcodes to build a strong encryption key so data is secured without any additional configuration by IT. Apple says that all third-party applications have data protection enabled by default, which means that data stored in applications downloaded from the App Store is protected by users’ passcodes until they unlock their iOS 7 devices. This Apple iOS 7 feature could ease the security fears of some IT departments, but questions remain about the level of encryption of data stored in the cloud.

Improvements to Mail: The native Mail experience keeps getting better. With the Mail app in iOS 7, users can view PDFs, sync notes with Outlook and organize smart mailboxes — that is, group messages that meet a certain criteria, such as those from a specific email address. But if the note syncing happens through iCloud, that could create a point of concern for IT.

Post to continue with other tips.