The iPhone and iPad had to be the sneakiest devices to ever intrude into the corporate landscape. CIOs and CEOs were enticed to buy the personal devices and then require their IT staff support them in the office. But, Apple never designed iOS to be business friendly. It wasn't until a couple years later that Apple realized their consumer products were being utilized heavily in corporate settings. So, they've had a bit of catching up to do.
Over time Apple has improved business functionality and connectivity to the enterprise, and app developers have helped by providing real business software solutions through iTunes. But, management of the devices have primarily been left to 3rd party vendors to support. For example, Microsoft has put extensive resources into building iOS support in its Cloud-based endpoint management solution, Windows Intune. Windows Intune is by far not the best iOS management solution. As I noted a couple days ago, the MDM market is crowded.
Apple just recently unveiled updated services to allow IT to manage iOS devices in the enterprise. The new services come with a new web site at: http://www.apple.com/iphone/business/it/
Part of Apple's "New IT" offerings include deployment, security, management, and app distribution. Apple's MDM solution looks very much like any other MDM solution. It provides all the feature you'd expect to see in a solution aimed at BYOD. In truth, Apple is the company that truly ignited BYOD, so it's good to see them finally providing very extensive features. But, unlike other MDM solutions which strive to support multiple platforms, Apple's only supports iOS. Even Microsoft's Windows Intune supports iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows RT.
A guide is now also available to help, not only understand the new features and Apple's iOS management ecosystem, but also to provide technical information for IT workers. The guide can be downloaded from here:
The release of the new tools is timely, considering Apple has recently been cited with one of the scariest security flaws on record. Patches are available for both iOS and OS X, and a good MDM solution can only help minimize security and privacy risks, and stolen corporate communications.