iPad business apps can be invaluable tools for end users, as long as IT administrators keep tabs on their usage.
The iPad is so popular because it provides an easy way to browse the Internet, play games, watch a movie or listen to music whether you’re in bed, at the dentist’s office or in an airport. But thanks to an increasing number of iPad business apps, more people are using Apple’s tablet for work as well. In this article you'll get to know the top 10 iPad apps for business users, and you'll learn how these apps will affect your work as an IT administrator.
The iPad is an excellent tool for giving business presentations on the go, and Apple's own Keynote is the de facto standard in this area. Keynote users can create presentations and import presentations from other applications, using either iTunes or iCloud. For IT administrators, Keynote is an easy application to manage; once it’s installed on an iPad, it doesn't interfere with the existing IT infrastructure at all. The only additional thing an employee might need when using this iPad business app is an adapter to connect the tablet to an external projector.
When it comes to iPad apps for business users on the go, Skype is an excellent choice. This app supports Skype-to-Skype calls, which are free, and offers low-price Skype-to-telephone calls. Users can also take advantage of more advanced ways of communicating, such as video conferencing and conference calls. Although the Skype app itself is free, users must purchase Skype Credit or a Skype subscription to make calls to external telephone numbers. Skype is hassle-free for IT administrators because it doesn't interfere with current IT infrastructure, and in certain cases it could actually help organizations save on communications costs.
There’s a whole category of iPad business apps that synchronize data across the tablet and other devices, and Dropbox is an extremely popular choice. The Dropbox iPad app allows synchronization of files without using iTunes; a user can create a document on his or her work PC and then view or edit it later on an iPad, for example. But this defining feature of Dropbox is the main challenge for IT administrators, because Dropbox users can easily store and access corporate data outside the firewall, posing a potential security threat.
Numbers, like Keynote, is part of the Apple iWork office suite, which contains several different iPad business apps. This app doesn’t replace the typical spreadsheet programs used on PCs, but it does allow business professionals to make quick calculations and analysis of data, which is useful when working with clients on the road. Numbers is an ideal application for IT professionals because it synchronizes its data only through iTunes, which admins can secure by enforcing Windows policies.
TeamViewer is a perfect iPad remote management app. IT professionals can use it to provide desktop support to users from their iPads, and end users can connect to their corporate PCs when they’re away from their desks. Access to the remote desktop and its data is contained to the app itself, so there is no means of transferring content to the iPad itself -- which makes TeamViewer a safe iPad business app that doesn't require additional security measures. As an added bonus, TeamViewer requires only a free desktop client and does not tie into your back-end IT infrastructure.
WebEx for iPad
Cisco Systems’ WebEx is a popular tool for organizing Web meetings. The WebEx for iPad app lets users receive audio and data simultaneously, and it has extended document- and application-sharing options. IT administrators should monitor this iPad business app closely, because the document-sharing feature can open the door for unauthorized users to access sensitive corporate data.
PDF Reader Pro
PDF readers are some of the most important iPad apps for business users. They let employees handle documents electronically, reducing the amount of paper that has to be carried around. PDF Reader Pro lets users read, mail and print documents, plus make notes. The good news for IT administrators is that this app does not let users handle documents that come from unverified channels, such as direct downloads.
The iPad’s native file management capabilities leave much to be desired, but there are several third-party iPad business apps that fill in the gaps. FileApp Pro lets users organize documents just as they are used to doing so on a PC. Like other safe apps, FileApp Pro imports documents through iTunes, lessening the concern about potential threats.
SSH Term Pro
SSH Term Pro is a very useful app for IT professionals who need remote access functionality for Linux and UNIX servers. SSH Term Pro is much like TeamViewer, except that it connects via the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol. Once logged in, you have full shell access, which allows you to work as if you were sitting right at the machine. Admins can perform all common tasks, such as changing configuration files, starting or stopping services and shutting down the server, from the SSH Term Pro iPad app.
FTP on the Go Pro
The FTP on the Go Pro iPad app lets users access FTP servers to browse for, upload and download files. Users can edit files directly from the FTP on the Go Pro interface, but because they can also upload and download files, the app does raise security concerns. As an IT administrator, you may have to deal with unknown files entering your infrastructure via FTP -- and protected files leaving it.
This was first published in November 2011