Can you manage an iPhone like a BlackBerry?

Apple's iPhone 3.0 OS and iPhone Configuration Utility 2.0 extend the iPhone's enterprise-class management and security features. The InfoWorld Test Center sees how far they really go

Users love the iPhone, but IT does not. The biggest complaints: The iPhone can't be managed for security and access policies like a BlackBerry can. Businesses can buy a BlackBerry Enterprise Server or Motorola Good for Enterprise server to manage user profiles over the air, ensuring that users conform to password policies, encryption policies, app-installation restrictions, and so on, as well as have their e-mail, VPN, and other settings preconfigured to reduce hands-on deployment effort.

For some time now, Apple's offered its free iPhone Configuration Utility for Windows and Mac that lets IT set up and install configuration profiles on iPhones in BlackBerry-like breadth. But it doesn't provide the over-the-air reach, the granularity of control, or the visibility that BlackBerry Enterprise Server offers. Lacking these key needs of larger businesses, iPhone Configuration Utility has been dismissed as a toy application.

[ InfoWorld Test Center's first look: What iPhone 3.0 brings to business -- and what it misses. | Should you upgrade to iPhone 3.0 S or just get an iPhone 3G S? Tom Yager investigates. ]

But last week, Apple shipped the iPhone 3.0 OS that adds improved support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync policies, and it made available the 2.0 version of its iPhone Configuration Utility, with significant new management and security capabilities. Can IT now manage the iPhone in the manner of BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices?

To answer that question, the InfoWorld Test Center has been testing both the version 2.0 iPhone Configuration Utility and Exchange ActiveSync as approaches to managing iPhones to see how well they really work and what types of IT and businesses can effectively use them -- and which cannot.

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