Apple does require the APNS digital certificate to use any vendor MDM software with Apple iOS 4.0 and 5.0 devices and getting that certificate signed properly takes a few steps, says Brandon. AirWatch has instructions on how to do this on its site. (There are also a lot of instructions still lingering here and there across the Web for the older Apple MDM certificate-issuance process, so don't be confused.)
The MDM enterprise customer first has to digitally generate a certificate on its own, and then get it digitally signed by both the MDM vendor and Apple. This digitally signed certificate process, typically done over the Web, results in a signed certificate that is then loaded into the server associated with the MDM software, says Brandon.
Neither Google Android devices nor devices using other mobile opersating systems have to go through this certificate-signing process when managed through the same MDM software, acknowledges Brandon. Nevertheless, he argues the Apple certificate requirement, which started in June 2010 with iOS 4.0 when Apple introduced its MDM APIs, is a good idea. He says it gives Apple a way to have control over what works well on Apple iOS devices in terms of battery and other factors. Indeed, this is the exact same argument that Apple makes on its website in describing the digital-certificate issuance process. At any rate, any MDM vendor supporting Apple iOS devices must support these certificates and that means the enterprise customer managing Apple iOS devices has to get an Apple- and MDM-signed certificate.
Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security.
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