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BYOD and iOS7 – 3 Reasons to Update Your Strategy

Since Apple’s release of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C in 2013, many iOS users have upgraded to iOS7. Analytics company Mixpanel suggests that the adoption of iOS7 surpassed 50 per cent within five days and 60 per cent within nine days. According to Apple, the figure rose to 82% on February 23rd, 2014. This has left many Canadian business owners wondering how iOS7 will affect their existing BYOD programs and how to prepare for iOS7 devices in the workplace.

Here’s a look at three reasons to consider updating your BYOD strategy for the new iOS7 features:

Per-app VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) has long been used by IT departments to give employees secure access to company servers remotely on their personal mobile devices. In a typical VPN setup, network traffic gets sent through a secure tunnel created between the VPN server and a user’s device. The traffic is routed through the corporate network as if the user device were connected to that network at the office, behind the firewall. Personal emails and web browsing get sent through a corporate network at all times, which can sometimes hurt performance levels and reduce employee privacy in BYOD programs. However, without VPN functionality in place, companies raise the risk of apps being launched on less-than-secure networks from places like coffee shops, libraries and airports.

To help improve security, iOS7 offers per-app VPN options to IT departments which provide control on which apps must use VPN. Per-app VPN streamlines VPN use on personal devices because only specific apps can establish or access network connections. Not only does this protect company data, employee’s personal apps don’t get routed through the corporate network, which ultimately increases privacy and security in BYOD programs.

Managed open-in
In a typical scenario, an employee opening a file attachment from an email on their smartphone or tablet is presented with a list of options. Managed open-in allows an administrator the ability to limit which apps and services appear on iOS7. This prevents employees from opening an image, PDF or infected file with company apps, for example.

It also adds control over which apps can connect and share data. IT departments can keep business data in business-issued apps and choose to define the open-in options by app or user account. This flexibility ensures any device with company apps is protected and BYOD programs can control how email attachments with sensitive company data are handled on personal devices.

Mobile Device Management (MDM)
Security within BYOD programs increases with iOS7’s new mobile device management (MDM) functionality. For example, the new iPhone Configuration Utility can load managed app settings wirelessly. With iOS 6, iPhones needed to be physically connected to a computer to install these updates.

Now personal devices are not required to be at a central location to receive managed app updates. This appeals to BYOD programs with employees based across various locations around the world.

New MDM features allow for novel opportunities for branding devices by working outside the default Apple fonts for creating content. IT administrators can install custom fonts and give employees access to branded text styles for documents. With MDM, employees have access to branded company styles and fonts for work-related documents created on personal iPhone and iPad devices from any location.

The bottom line
Within any BYOD program, companies encounter many IT challenges related to security, privacy protection and flexibility. iOS7 has added many security related features such as per-app VPN, managed open in and mobile device management to ensure administrators have the necessary tools to run effective BYOD programs between employees and IT departments. If you haven’t used an iPhone or iPad in the workplace, now’s the time to see what iOS7 has to offer.

Tell us how iOS7 has changed your BYOD program. What is your favourite new IT feature? Let us know in the comments section.

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