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Why Hasn't Apple Created an MDM Solution of Its Own?


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July 01, 2013

Why Hasn't Apple Created an MDM Solution of Its Own?

By Joe Rizzo, TMCnet Contributing Writer

There is no denying that people are bringing their own devices (BYOD) to work. These devices are a combination of Android (News - Alert) and iOS platforms, and a lot of companies are beginning to allow their employees the use of such personal devices. However, there is a major concern with this practice. Is the corporate data still secure?

In a recent interview, Richard Hodkinson, who is the CTO of the law firm DWF, said, "I'm absolutely aghast that Apple (News - Alert) hasn’t recognized the potential here and hasn’t come up with MDM solutions themselves. Otherwise companies like MobileIron would not have had a position in the market. I'm surprised Apple, being the genius company it is, didn't think that it was inevitable that these devices would lead into organizations, because of the appeal that goes with these things."

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MobileIron, Inc. is a company that provides mobile device management (MDM) and security to large enterprises. MDM is one of those “must-haves” for the corporate environment. If you are going to use BYOD, then you will have to access corporate information, applications, documents and a lot more.

How much of a threat is that to enterprise security? In essence, MDM is software that secures, monitors, manages and supports mobile devices that are deployed across various mobile operators, service providers and enterprises. If you are using a personal device, then it is going through your service provider, which may not necessarily be the corporation provider.

Hodkinson is aware that employees at DWF are going to use BYOD. In fact, DWF allows users to bring iOS, BlackBerry (News - Alert) and Android devices into work as long as they sign a disclaimer for the firm to load MobileIron's mobile device management software onto the device.

Many of these mobile devices have become prone to viruses, malware and even hackers. This mandates the need for some type of MDM solutions that companies can rely on. Now it’s true that not every smartphone or tablet needs to have MDM. Not every document that you work on or email that you send on the corporate side needs to be under a secure lock and key.

But Hodkinson does raise a good point. There are an awful lot of iPads out there and Apple should realize that they are going to be taken to work and used as BYOD. So why hasn’t Apple thought about creating its own secure environment for its devices?

There are several very good companies like MobileIron, Fiberlink, Amtel (News - Alert) and a few others that provide excellent MDM options and solutions. Just a few days ago BlackBerry announced that it was launching Secure Work Space (SWS). Through its BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10, SWS provides the same division of work and personal profiles for all Android and iOS devices as it does for its own BlackBerry 10 devices.

We have only begun to see the use of BYOD. Each operating system has its own nuances. Apple is not known for sharing details on its iOS. That means that there might be the need for a lot of tweaking in order for a company using an MDM solution when it comes to Apple devices.

Wouldn’t it make sense for Apple to recognize that the same iPad and iPhone (News - Alert) is going to be used for both personal and business uses? Wouldn’t that device be more secure if Apple created the security feature that works with its devices and also keeps the corporate data secure?

As more employees bring their own devices to work, corporations are going to have to figure out how to deal with them. BlackBerry has already thought this through, is it now time for both iOS and Android devices to have native security features for corporate use?

Simply having the option as part of the OS doesn’t mean that it has to be used, but I would have to think that corporations would feel a lot more comfortable letting their employees use BYODs if they had options native to each OS.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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