New iOS 7 Enterprise Improvements Close Up

By Kenny Suchens

Thankfully, for the masses Apple’s “bring-your-own-device” policies are now becoming a standard, and no longer just the exception to the rule in some cases, it is imperative now more than ever for Companies and developers to create cross-platform solutions that can be positioned across numerous devices from the workplace and beyond.

Despite what devices users may have, one thing is clear. Today’s users demand a seamlessly, integrated UI experience that allows them to be as productive whilst being mobile just as they are on their desktop or laptop,” commented Simon Wilby, CEO of The Smart Inventor.

Apple’s most recent unveiling of the all new and redesigned iOS 7 at the Worldwide Developers Conference in January has millions of Apple fans excited about the overdue updates, however the Enterprise folks should have even more cause to be anticipating all these updates this fall 2013. A whole new world of Enterprise features takes aim at making Apple’s BYOD plan of action concrete.

These updates will include:

• iCloud Activation lockout
The biggest security feature is the Activation Lock. It is rumored to stop the reactivation of a lost or stolen iPhone without the owner’s iCloud account details. This MDM/BYOD feature does curtail the fear of business users in regards to the lost or stolen iPhone that has access to an individual or Company’s enterprise network.

• Enterprise single sign-on
This is about user experience and increased security. Now users will have the ability to login once and authenticate across enterprise services. While there are many mobile management platforms that currently allow the cross-authentication, this feature definitely provides some advantages for the developers with the integration into the iOS. This includes an mdm management allowance for a “one for all” login for enterprise-owned services. That gives a user the full ability to authenticate once to the enterprise network, and then get access to apps without having to repeatedly log in. Less log-ins is what we have been waiting for.

• Per-app VPN
This produces an easier way to manage the different Apple users; VPN also enables a secure data exchange between multiple users and those non-private network users. In iOS 7, this feature is further extended to per-app VPN’s as well. That is, different applications can be connected to a different VPN. But the specific working mode has yet to be expounded upon at this time.

• App configuration management with streamlined MDM
This presumably is an attempt at real time mobile app management, it could perhaps end up offering the ability to send advanced push notifications for apps or to remove apps from managed devices. Maybe even also prevent the loading unauthorized apps.

• New Smart Mailboxes
iOS currently does not have access to your Mac’s Smart Mailboxes, but from the look of the keynote presentation, that has changed. Improved mail search is certainly a vague description. Currently, there’s no such option, and you have to select to the folder you want to search in, and then start your search.

• iOS PDF Editing & Annotations
For an all-in-one mobile ability to view, annotates, and edit. iBook’s is my best guess, as it’s currently iOS’s default PDF reader. That could also bring with it PDF annotation tools, but we’ll have to wait and see.

• Wi-Fi Hotspot 2.0
The new Wi-Fi hotspot 2.0 automatically seeks out Wi-Fi hotspot signals and joins iOS 7 them when you’re device crosses into those areas.

• Advanced Call ID Blocking
Are Telemarketers repeatedly calling or messaging you that you’d rather not talk to? iOS 7 will have enable you to block those annoying email addresses, and or phone numbers.

• Intelligent Airdrop
Apple’s iOS 7 AirDrop is pretty incredible: Users can soon transfer photos to friends nearby over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth—no wires, no walking around to bump a friend, or inessential email attachments.

• Data protection lock by default
Data protection is now enabled by default for all applications. That means apps’ data stores are encrypted with the user passcode. For the strongest passphrases (passwords that are greater than 8 characters, combined with numeric and special characters is a decent start) this is very strong security and definitely up to enterprise standards if you are on newer hardware (iPhone 4S or later, for sure). Developers no longer need to build this into your custom enterprise apps (or app wrappers) unless you don’t enforce passcode requirements.

Last but not least, lets not forget the iWork for iCloud, a Web-based app previously only for Mac users that expand to Windows users as well. This suite, which includes the Numbers, Pages, and Keynote, this assists in the crossover from one form of OS to another. Employees who at one time left their work at the office and never attempted mobile usage due to different systems and incompatibilities now have a reason to bring work home and abroad.