Cisco AnyConnect on iPhone bolsters smartphone's enterprise rise

iOS-specific client brings enterprise-level security and network optimization to Apple devices

Apple and Cisco's brief battle over the "iPhone" moniker is evidently now water under the bridge. Apple -- which has been criticized for being a little too selective in its choice of security software developers -- and Cisco have officially announced the release of an iPhone version of AnyConnect, Cisco's multipurpose network security and optimization tool.

In March, Cisco announced its Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client, a system for centrally managing and securing mobile computer hardware. Cisco initially made it available for the standard laptop platforms, with promises of mobile-specific clients to come. Lo, the iPhone now holds the distinction as the first of the popular smartphone platforms to boast its own AnyConnect Client, news that can only further help the coveted Apple device -- and smartphones in general -- continue the steady rise from consumer gadget to business-productivity tool.

[ Also on Apple iPhones and iPads secure enough -- but what about Android? | Learn how to say yes to (almost) any smartphone in your business in InfoWorld's guide. | Keep up on key mobile developments and insights with the Mobile Edge blog and Mobilize newsletter. ]

The iPhone version of AnyConnect includes the expected VPN, intended to protect business data flowing between users and the company network. Moreover, IT admins can create and push security policies to connect iPhone users, meaning users can't download potentially dangerous (or distracting) apps to their device. Beyond that, the system can collects stats and logging info for admins to analyze.

The client supports an array of authentication protocols, including RADIUS, RSA, Active Directory/Kerberos, LDAP, and others.

Beyond improving iPhone security, AnyConnect is designed to boost user productivity by optimizing network connectivity and app performance. Through the use of Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS), TCP-based applications and latency-sensitive traffic -- including VoIP, Cisco notes -- communication between client and server enjoy a performance surge.

Moreover, the client uses TLS (HTTP over TLS/SSL) to ensure connectivity through locked-down environments, according to Cisco. It's also compatible with Cisco's ASA VPN load balancing.

This article, "Cisco AnyConnect on iPhone bolsters smartphone's enterprise rise," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog.