What Does iOS 10 Mean for Businesses?
Big-Impact Business Features in iOS 10
EMM provider MobileIron recently published a white paper on what enterprises need to know about iOS 10; 81 percent of devices in the enterprise run Apple’s mobile OS, according to the company’s latest Mobile Security and Risk Reviewreport. Sean Ginevan, Senior Director of Strategy at MobileIron, explained how iOS is evolving into what the company calls a “complete enterprise platform.”
“A complete enterprise platform requires three things: 1) a great end-user experience including a robust ecosystem of apps, 2) protection for corporate data wherever it resides, and 3) it must be simple to deploy and manage across the enterprise at scale,” said Ginevan. “Apple has achieved number one. It works with EMM vendors like MobileIron to support number two. We look forward to Apple’s continued investment in the Device Enrollment Program (DEP), Appconfig.org, and its other enterprise programs to further simplify secure enterprise deployment and management.”
Below are some of the key enterprise features in iOS 10:
- All New, All Different Siri: Apple knew Siri was in need of a major overhaul to catch up with Alexa, Cortana, and the gang, and in iOS 10 that means opening up Siri to developers with the SiriKit application programming interface (API) to connect other apps to the personal assistant. For enterprises, this means IT can integrate mission-critical applications and many of the collaboration, productivity, and other business apps used by employees with some smarter voice-activated help.
- AppConfig Community: Apple announced that iOS 10 will support AppConfig, the EMM standards and best practices the community announced at Mobile World Congress in February. This gives iOS developers an accepted framework and open resources to build a managed app-configuration policy.
- Auto Unlock: New iOS 10 controls allow users to unlock a Mac using an Apple Watch, without typing in a password. This is a macOS Sierra feature, but iOS 10 security upgrades patch some security vulnerabilities, now requiring the Apple Watch to be on the user’s wrist and within three meters of the Mac to unlock it; otherwise it will require a PIN.
- Raise to Wake: The new raise-to-wake feature is a boon for consumers to be sure, but a new iOS 10 lockscreen that wakes up and surfaces notifications the moment you pick your phone up? That’s a business-productivity improvement that immediately shaves a few seconds off any mobile task.
- Touch-and-Go: Apple has extended 3D Touch to more apps like Calendar and Stocks for quick-glance information with a single tap.
- Universal Clipboard: In simplifying data and content syncing across Mac and iOS devices, the new Universal Clipboard finally eliminates the need for AirDrop. Available on devices running macOS Sierra, the clipboard automatically uploads text, photos, or videos to iCloud to be copied to another device.
- Unsecured Wi-Fi Network Warning: This is a subtle feature addition giving you a security recommendation notification when connecting your iOS device to an unsecure network that could expose network traffic and leave your organization vulnerable if you’re using an enterprise-configured device.
- Visual Voicemail: Improved voice recognition in iOS 10 automatically transcribes all received voicemails, viewable as text.
- VPN IKEv2 EAP-only Mode: This mouthful of a virtual private network (VPN) feature finally allows employees to access corporate VPNs from their iOS devices. Hallelujah.
- Wet Lightning Cable Warning: Everyone knows water damage is death for an iPhone—one of the main reasons Apple has been chasing the elusive waterproof device—but a simple new notification will give your IT department one less problem to worry about. In iOS 10, a user will receive a “disconnect Lightning accessory” warning when plugging in a wet cable.
Check out Apple’s full iOS 10 preview for more. In spite of the expanded enterprise capabilities, Ginevan said iOS still has work to do. One of the biggest requests MobileIron has gotten from enterprise customers is the need for better data separation in “prosumer” apps—apps available in the App Store that can be used for personal and work tasks.
“The challenge today is that the iOS Managed Apps security frameworkembedded in iOS allows enterprises to protect their app data, but assumes that all data stored in the app is for work, when in fact some of it might be for personal use,” said Ginevan. “Some app vendors try to address this issue themselves by implementing proprietary, app-specific security controls. This is not a scalable approach, and it results in less app choice and more deployment complexity for IT. Other operating system security frameworks, like Android for Work, allow the enterprise to protect just the enterprise data in the app, which provides a consistent security model regardless of the apps chosen.”