5 Tips to Manage Apple's Enterprise iOS 5
CREDIT: Apple, Inc.
Are you ready to for Apple iOS 5? With more employees using their own devices and IT losing control over employee access, it's important to handle a switch to iOS 5 carefully.
Dan Croft, chief executive officer of Mission Critical Wireless, a global enterprise mobility management solutions company, offers five tips to manage enterprise iOS 5.
Know your network. It is surprising how many IT departments do not know what is running on their network. If you do not know your network, it isn’t even relevant to question whether or not you should allow iOS 5 (since every other device and software runs unrestricted). Businesses must have a good understanding of everything on the network. If not, they are setting themselves up for serious issues in the future, many of which may have nothing to do with iOS 5. A robust device management platform will provide insight into the network.
Establish minimum security measures. Before allowing any new software or hardware access to your business network, including iOS 5, it is critical to establish company-wide baseline security regulations. For highly competitive industries, more rigorous security standards should be implemented. Mandatory password protection and the ability to wipe clean or kill a device on a 24/7 basis are two security measures every business should implement.
Develop a policy and procedure for device choices and iOS version. Before giving the green light for iOS 5, software security and performance must be tested. In this regard, it's a good idea to develop a company-wide list of approved software and devices. For every version release, perform a test on your network (ideally within 72 hours or less) before deciding whether to include it on the list of permitted devices and software. Notify all Apple users via text message, asking them to refrain from downloading the iOS 5 update until your IT team determines its reliability. If anyone downloads the software before company approval, the device can be automatically disconnected from the enterprise network.
Manage and control apps. When implementing iOS 5, an application whitelist is just as important as an approved list of software and devices. This is less about regulating your employees’ time spent playing the video game "Angry Birds" and more about preventing rogue applications from entering your network and compromising the security of sensitive corporate data. The best option is to maintain a corporate app store, which becomes the only place an employee can download an app for use on the company network. Employees can recommend and request desired apps (for both business and personal use); once the apps pass the approval process, they can be posted and downloaded in the corporate app store.
Eliminate security holes. iOS 5 has two additional capabilities that impact businesses. New iCloud capabilities allow users to store their phone data in the cloud. In general, companies should disable iCloud capabilities in order to ensure sensitive company data is not stored in a personal cloud that only the user can access. It’s a good idea to enable iCloud capabilities for your employees’ personal files, but not for company documents.
iMessage is another new application that could cause headaches for enterprises, particularly ones subject to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance issues. iMessage enables users to bypass a cellular network for instant messaging capabilities, thus eliminating the associated texting fees. However, iMessage does not have the capability to archive messages. Since that’s the case, it’s worth enforcing a strict policy that restricts employees from using iMessage for any company communications. This will help avoid unnecessary compliance problems that could arise in the future.