Apple's new iPhones could affect enterprise IT as end users purchase new devices and expect IT to support them immediately.
But employees who demand immediate support may have to wait if organizations have bring your own device (BYOD) policies that require additional measures to secure devices.
IOS in the U.S. is the [OS] most organizations are comfortable with.
analyst, High Rock Strategy
"It is a challenge for IT," said Steve Nava, director of field service for Luminex Corp., an Austin, Texas-based company that provides biological testing equipment. "Any Apple or remote device that wants to access the company infrastructure [has to have IT] place a security profile on that device." Luminex supports Apple Inc.'s iOS devices internally, but employees are required to add a security certificate onto their devices.
Many employees will rush out to buy the new iPhone 5s and lower-cost iPhone 5c when they become available on Sept. 20.The new iPhone 5s sports a faster 64-bit A7 processor, support for biometric security, the M7 motion coprocessor chip and better camera functionality.
But the upgrades may not cause as much of a headache for enterprise IT because of the existing widespread support for iOS.
"Hopefully those enterprises have already prepared for it," said Michael Oh, founder of Apple reseller Tech Superpowers, based in Boston.
Preparations to support the new iPhones are most likely just a piece of what companies are already doing today to support the iOS platform with mobile device management (MDM) in their environment.
"One trend we're seeing is [that among businesses], iOS in the U.S. is the [mobile device OS] most organizations are comfortable with," said Chris Silva, principal analyst for the High Rock Strategy LLC, a mobile enterprise consulting organization based in Melrose, Mass.
"Most enterprises we've seen have implemented some MDM solutions by now, whether it's cloud-based or in-house," Oh said. Apple's consistent product development for each generation of new devices enables companies to simply plug the new products into an organization's existing MDM software, he added.
Apple has added mobile management features to iOS 7 that are designed to make it easier for enterprise IT to manage an iOS 7 device. Apple plans to release iOS 7 on September 18.
"[Apple's] iOS 7 does have a few more enterprise-friendly features built into it," Silva agreed. "First iOS 6 and maybe iOS 5 made nods to the enterprise. [Now] I'm interested to see how the enterprises and companies that manage the devices take the fingerprint scanner for the 5s and build on top of that to secure applications."
Whether the new iPhones will cause millions of end users to upgrade their old devices or open up new markets for iPhone buyers remains to be seen. Apple iOS device adoption continues in the enterprise and drives IT administrators to determine the best methods and policies for support in their organizations.
Nava feels his organization supports iOS devices the right way.
"Our IT department does a great job of securing our internet infrastructure," he said. "They give guidance when we should download the latest iOS update and make sure they're compatible with our email servers. … It's the device everyone wants to carry."
Diana Hwang asks:
What are your plans for supporting iPhone 5s and 5c?
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