Apple has revealed a raft of new mobile device management (MDM) features in iOS 8. These new security features will provide organisations with more control in protecting company data on employee Apple devices.

 

The more employees use mobile devices to access organisational systems, applications and data, the more imperative it becomes to protect such access and usage. Kareem Tawansi, CEO of the Solentive Technology Group, says mobile devices are moving targets beyond an organisation’s firewalls, content filtering and threat management systems.

“Security is the biggest issue when evaluating an operating system to build an enterprise application,” explains Tawansi. As a result, organisations are faced with the challenge of finding a system that allows access control to sensitive data, whilst still maximising the full value of mobility.

Android, iOS and Windows-based mobile devices have transformed enterprise computing, providing new mobility and flexibility for people and IT. With each new operating system version and device release, more management tools and security features are revealed, allowing IT to enforce passcodes and device restrictions to further protect corporate data.

In Tawansi’s experience, most organisations either lean towards iOS or Android, as they provide more support for enterprise control. In fact, Google’s Android mobile operating system dominated enterprise market share in 2013. However, Tawansi believes the impending September release of iOS 8 will place Apple in an excellent position to address a host of enterprise security concerns.

iOS 8 promises new mobile device management (MDM) tools that will allow administrators to prevent users from adding restrictions or erasing services, and a remote management feature enabling increased transparency and ease of use. A new passcode restraint will protect applications such as Calendar, Contacts and Notes.

In addition, IT departments will be able to take control over which applications are able to open documents downloaded from enterprise domains. Rules will also apply to opening applications from the iCloud.

“Apple’s new security features reveal a clear move to target the enterprise,” says Tawansi. “It makes sense to include Apple when choosing an enterprise device. The security technologies built into iOS 8 are specifically designed to give IT much more control over sensitive information.”

Mobile security has its own special issues and challenges, but it is a fundamental part of the security infrastructure required to protect employees, assets and the reputation of an organisation. Taking appropriate steps to safeguard against loss and mitigate risks enables managers and employees to take advantage of the benefits that IT mobility can bring to the workplace.

Android, iOS and Windows may have their own different device management specifications, but it is important to take them all into account when developing enterprise applications – particularly when security is a top priority.