iPhone management tools step it up with iOS 4

The new iPhone and iPad OS adds BlackBerry-like corporate security, which upgraded IT admin tools will tap

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  • The ability to detect "jailbroken" iPhones, where the operating system has been modified to allow unauthorized apps to run, and block them from accessing coprorate resources. Such jailbroken iPhones have proven to be susceptible to malware exploits.
  • The ability to inventory all the apps on each user's iOS device -- including those installed by users via the Apple App Store -- and compare the inventory to a whitelist of approved apps or a blacklist of forbidden apps. If a user's device has apps that violate the corporate approval policy, MobileIron prevents that device from accessing corporate resources -- in essence, restricting the device to personal use.
  • The ability to manage and enforce policies around access to in-house corporate iOS apps, so IT can manage app deployment as it does on the desktop.
  • Automatic detection of when devices are roaming outside their home country. MobileIron is still working on the actions such detection might lead to, notes MobileIron's product VP Ojas Rege. At the least, users will get a warning that they are roaming internationally and thus subject to very high data roaming fees. The company may provide an option in which data roaming is automatically turned off as well (voice services would remain on), forcing users to explicity turn it back on, Rege notes. The goal is to get IT out of the business of worrying about roaming costs and leave the decisions to the business units, he adds.
  • The ability to selectively wipe calendar data, such as corporate items but not personal ones. This is an enhancement to its existing ability to selectively wipe email.

Good for Enterprise's extra capabilities
Good Technology's iPhone Management component of its Good for Enterprise management tool was updated today, with a new client app (Good for Enterprise-iPhone) available from the Apple App Store. A Good for Enterprise server is required to use the app. It too has the ability to install policy profiles without user intervention, remotely lock or wipe devices, and deploy in-house apps without going through the App Store. Other new capabilities include:

  • The ability to selectively wipe information, so corporate data and apps can be deleted from an iOS 4 device without affecting users' personal information and apps.
  • The ability to detect an iOS device's model and operating system version and disallow access by model/OS combinations. Such a capability could be used, for example, to disallow access by iPhones and iPod Touches whose hardware or operating system don't support on-device encryption or to limit access to only iOS 4 devices or only to iPads.

Sybase Afaria's extra capabilities
The Afaria management tool's iOS 4 upgrade is expected to go into public beta in July and ship by October. In addition to the ability to install policy profiles without user intervention, remotely lock or wipe devices, and deploy in-house apps without going through the Apple App Store, the company says the iOS 4 version of Afaria will have the following new capabilities:

  • The ability to selectively wipe information, so corporate data and apps can be deleted from an iOS 4 device without affecting users' personal information and apps.
  • The ability to create a recommended, categorized list of apps from the App Store to steer employees to approved, useful apps (which IT can't deploy on behalf of users, as they reside in the App Store).
  • The ability to manage sandboxed corporate apps, policies, and settings remotely.
  • The ability to monitor a device's policy compliance, such as which apps to deploy or what access to allow, and available storage for use.
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