There is a clear winner for mobility in the Enterprise and it is Apple. Yes, I hear the squawkers out there showing me their Android phones, Blackberry’s and Windows Phones, but for each device you show me I can show you 8 more people in your company who have an iPhone. I can show you even more who have iPads compared to every Surface or Android Tablet. Even two years ago I don’t think I would have said the following words: Apple is an Enterprise Company.
Who would have thought? Apple is notorious for thumbing its nose against “the man” and everything negative about the enterprise. Maybe it’s because Windows powers the company laptop? Then we all started to buy Smartphones and Tablets.
Apple products are standard in almost every company and Apple has been quietly taking a more Enterprise centric approach to managing their devices. To help you, Apple updated a PDF called the iOS Deployment Technical Reference. It is a short read (45 pages) but is very valuable to anyone managing a large number of iOS devices for a school or company. The book is split into the following sections:
- Integration. iOS devices have built-in support for a wide range of network infrastructures. In this section, you’ll learn about iOS-supported technologies and best practices for integrating with Microsoft Exchange, Wi-Fi, VPN, and other standard services.
- Security. iOS is designed to securely access corporate services and protect important data. iOS provides strong encryption for data in transmission, proven authentication methods for access to corporate services, and hardware encryption for all data at rest. Read this chapter to learn more about the security-related features of iOS.
- Configuration and Management. iOS supports advanced tools and technologies for ensuring that iOS devices are easily set up, configured to meet your requirements, and managed with ease in a large-scale environment. This chapter describes the different tools available for deployment including an overview of mobile device management (MDM) and the Device Enrollment Program.
- App Distribution. There are a number of ways of deploying apps and content throughout your organization. Programs from Apple, including the Volume Purchase Program and the iOS Developer Enterprise Program, enable your organization to buy, build, and deploy apps for your internal users. Use this chapter to get an in-depth understanding of these programs and how to deploy apps purchased or built for internal use.
The following appendices provide additional technical details and requirements:
- Wi-Fi Infrastructure. Details about the Wi-Fi standards that iOS supports and considerations for planning a large-scale Wi-Fi network.
- Restrictions. Details about the restrictions you can use to configure iOS devices to meet your security, passcode, and other requirements.
- Installing In-house Apps Wirelessly. Details and requirements for distributing your in-house apps using your own web-based portal.
To be clear, I do not think Apple will ever open up their iOS operating system to the same level of control Microsoft or Blackberry does, but some control is better than no control.