Software // Operating Systems
10:43 AM
Connect Directly
Repost This

Apple iOS 6 'App Lock': Enterprise Ready?

Guided Access feature can turn an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch into a locked-down, single-purpose device. With or without MDM software, what does that mean for enterprises?

Larry Ponemon, founder and chairman of the Ponemon Institute, an information security think tank, agreed that App Lock "could be a really good thing" and said that the typical elegance of Apple design probably has third-party vendors excited. "I don't think it's that novel, but I think it's interesting because it's Apple," he said, adding that the company has been "pretty silent on the security front" but is "starting to get into it." Indeed, last August saw Apple appear at Black Hat for the first time, supporting the notion that Apple might be giving IT considerations more than a casual glance.

Pescatore stated that "most MDM vendors can do this kind of application control." He added that App Lock is "catching a lot of attention because Apple has been so unfriendly to IT admin."

But he also said that something like the rumored iPad Mini has a form factor that would, unlike the current, full-sized editions, be easy to handle in one hand. Because Apple's tablets are so versatile, he asserted, a business could deploy dozens of different purpose-driven variations while investing in only one type of hardware. "Why have a dozen hardware vendors?"

Gartner VP Dan Blum said in a phone interview that App Lock's IT-friendliness comes after "Apple's been criticized for not having any real engagement with the enterprise market." Both vendors and enterprise customers would appreciate "more of a road map," he stated.

Blum also remarked that Apple presents a "paradox" to businesses because iOS has proven "pretty secure" but "has very limited hooks" for enterprise-grade manageability. Apple's security record isn't untarnished--but compared to Android devices, iPhones and iPads have been in a different class.

Pescatore said that App Lock could be a great cost-effective solution for smaller companies, but that "most enterprises are not gonna trust the platform to secure itself." Even if iOS vulnerabilities have not been a problem, mission-critical environments require granular control over the devices accessing their private data. It remains to be seen how MDM vendors will utilize iOS 6's injection of additional hooks--but with iPhone 5 sales set to explode, new products will reveal the answer soon enough.

Download the debut issue of InformationWeek's Must Reads, a compendium of our best recent coverage on enterprise mobility in our new easy-to-read and -navigate Web format. Included in this issue of Must Reads: 6 keys to a flexible mobile device management strategy; why you need an enterprise app store; and Google points to the future of mobile. (Free registration required.)

2 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Strategist
9/19/2012 | 6:00:14 PM
re: Apple iOS 6 'App Lock': Enterprise Ready?
"but thanks to BYOD, iOS has rapidly become a workplace fixture."

Not at any business that I work at or work with.....BYOD is the latest in a long line of buzzwords. The fact that Apple products are still < 20% of the marketplace makes me doubt that Apple has been the major reason for this.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Elite 100 - 2014
Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators.
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.