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11/8/2011
11:30 PM
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The iPhone 4S: Ready For Business

Apple's latest blockbuster is manageable and secure.

Integration And Management

The preferred mobile operating system among business technology professionals is actually iOS, according to our recent InformationWeek Mobile OS Vendor Evaluation Survey, with almost a third of respondents selecting it over the Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone alternatives. Furthermore, almost two-thirds of respondents let employees access company resources with personal devices, meaning the number of iPhones in the workplace is destined to increase.

Fortunately, despite Apple's reputation for enterprise indifference, the iPhone and iPad are surprisingly amenable to central management--certainly not up to the Kremlin-like command-and-control capabilities available via BlackBerry Enterprise Server, but good enough to set corporate security policies and network configurations. For example, Apple provides a free iPhone Configuration Utility that can be used to create standard configuration profiles containing device security policies and restrictions; VPN configurations; Wi-Fi, email, and calendar account settings; and authentication credentials, including X.509 certificates and RSA keys. Once installed, IT can lock down these settings.

The iPhone's snappy interface and generous battery life will certainly please business users, and this performance also means that the device is a much more attractive platform for content-rich enterprise applications. Custom iOS apps will be much more responsive on the 4S, with performance essentially indistinguishable (with the obvious exception of screen size) from that on the iPad 2.

Furthermore, since the platforms share the same OS, and Apple's development tools make it easy to write "universal" applications that can be deployed to either device yet automatically take advantage of the tablet's greater screen real estate, developers don't have to worry about the hardware differences between platforms--a single app install will run equally well on either device.

Which mobile device OS types have access to your company's business resources?

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