Despite the rise of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement in recent years, Apple’s popular iPhone and iPad haven’t really been geared toward making the lives of enterprise IT administrators any easier. However, with several new business-centric features now included in the upcoming iOS 7 release, that could all be about to change.
Apple is billing the new iPhone 5S as the “most secure mobile phone ever.” Whether that proves true or not remains to be seen, but so far, the iOS 7 updates are a bit more interesting. Chief among them is the new per app VPN feature.
According to Apple’s website, “Apps can now be configured to automatically connect to VPN when they are launched. Per app VPN gives IT granular control over corporate network access. It ensures that data transmitted by managed apps travels through VPN — and that other data, like an employee’s personal Web browsing activity, does not.”
With reports that 76 percent of enterprises are now formally supporting BYOD, IT administrators are sure to welcome such granular control. Not only does such a feature have the potential to improve data security, but it could also make company-wide app rollouts significantly easier and lighten the traffic load on corporate networks.
But, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that enterprises cannot afford to become complacent when it comes to remote access policies and best practices. As mobile device manufacturers and application developers work to make their products more enterprise-friendly, they are ultimately designing them for convenient use by consumers. IT teams must remain vigilant when it comes to managing these devices and how they connect to their networks.
Whether employees are using the latest Apple device running on iOS 7 or Android devices from one of the myriad mobile manufacturers operating today, IT administrators should not hesitate to consult their VPN providers when it comes to implementing new features and understanding how they will interact with existing networks and VPN solutions. For example, IT teams should have a plan in place that outlines which apps will automatically access the VPN when launched from iOS 7.
Does your organization support BYOD and iOS devices? Have you thought about how the per app VPN feature should be used, and have you discussed this with your current VPN provider? If you haven’t already, now would be a good time.