Apple's iOS 7 brings with it more enterprise-friendly features than there have been in previous versions of the operating system, which should make IT professionals happy.
In iOS 7, Apple improves mobile device management (MDM), offers more mobile application management tools and features, and even includes some new security features. But there are also some features users will like that could cause headaches for IT, such as automatic updates and AirDrop.
Take a look at the enterprise-friendly iOS 7 features that IT can look forward to and which ones may challenge administrators.
What new management tools are available in iOS 7?
Apple iOS 7 features tons of new management tools. "Open In" management lets IT decide which applications employees can use to open and share documents and attachments. More MDM options in iOS 7's MDM protocol let IT wirelessly set up managed apps, whitelist AirPlay destinations, configure accessibility options and configure AirPrint printers. MDM enrollment will also be easier on iOS 7 devices.
Apple's iOS 7 also has single sign-on technology so users can access apps and data without having to log in multiple times. And with a per-app VPN (virtual private network), apps connect to the VPN upon launch. Additionally, Apple made changes to the Volume Purchasing Program that let companies control application licenses. Users can download self-service applications from their purchase histories, or IT can push the apps to workers via MDM. Finally, iOS 7 comes with a security update to protect devices from hacks using a modified charger or battery.
Are there any new security features in iOS 7?
In iOS 7, all App Store apps now come with data protection enabled, so all the data stored in those apps is protected and encrypted by users' passcodes. Additionally, iOS 7 features an Activation Lock to keep lost or stolen iOS 7 devices from being reactivated without the user's iCloud account log in and password -- even if the device has been wiped. A password manager that syncs across devices and helps create secure passwords called iCloud Keychain is also included in iOS 7.
Are there any iOS 7 features that I should be concerned about?
Apple made some improvements to the native Mail app. Users can sync notes with Outlook, but if that syncing happens through iCloud, that could be a spot for concern. Apple iOS 7 also comes with AirDrop, which lets people use peer-to-peer Wi-Fi to share files with iOS users near them. Plus, apps in iOS 7 update themselves, which could create security and compliance issues, depending on how the apps are integrated. It's also important to note that there are still many questions about how certain features will work -- such as per-app VPN -- and how much control IT will have over features such as AirDrop and the automatic updates.
This was first published in August 2013