A Technical Director’s honest review on iOS9 for the Enterprise
Written by: Nathan Ritchie, Technical Director Mobliciti
Depending on which articles you’ve read, Apple have somewhere between 20-50% adoption rates for iOS9. Whichever view you take, it’s pretty likely that your Apple users are soon to have new capabilities and pose new challenges.
With that being said, what exactly does iOS9 mean to the Enterprise, both from an IT and end user perspective?
As the Technical Director at Mobliciti I’m often talking to customers and prospects about iOS9 and what it means to them in the context of Enterprise managed devices and BYOD via EMM, with most questions arriving from the angle of…
“what’s changed and what does it mean to my business from a security, compliance, risk and privacy perspective?”
…and equally important (at least in my opinion), what effect do the changes have over the end user experience?
Let’s not forget I’m also a consumer and end user of iOS9, and have an EMM managed device in my pocket.
Sitting with my IT hat on, the following noteworthy changes were introduced with iOS9 (In no particular order)
- Apple ID: With iOS 9, Apple announced that EMM providers can now distribute a Volume Purchase Program (VPP) app to individual devices instead of assigning the app to an Apple ID. Eliminating the Apple ID requirement on every device greatly simplifies fleet-deployments where often there isn’t an individual Apple ID assigned to a device.
- 6 character passcode: Whilst this may seem simple on first view, without proper thought being given to how it will be managed, it could cause unnecessary questions or Helpdesk tickets being raised as to why IT have yet again changed password policies, so end user messaging is key here where BYOD devices are concerned. For EMM managed devices, the pre-existing policy will be kept so if you already chose a 4 character passcode before, the status quo will be maintained.
- ATS: App Transport Security (ATS) enforces best practices in the secure connections between an app and its back end. ATS prevents accidental disclosure, essentially allowing app developers to ensure HTTPS is used by default.
- Per-app VPN: Whilst Apple announced a few changes for per-app VPN. The most important update to my customers will be the support for UDP traffic with the current per-app VPN implementation. This is a big win for apps that require UDP in order to stream audio or video or establish initial connectivity over UDP.
- Distribute apps without the App Store: For corporate-deployed iOS 9 devices, enterprises will have the ability to disable the App Store yet still be able to deploy apps through the Enterprise App Store. This feature will allow EMM administrators to govern personal and corporate app usage.
So what are the “gotcha’s” with iOS9? Whilst I’m sure we can all think of one or two, I do want to point out something our partner Wandera posted recently about iOS9 and assisted Wi-Fi, and how important it is for enterprises to be aware of data usage and “bill-shock”.
“With iOS 9, devices will now automatically connect to cellular networks when Wi-Fi signal is low or lost. Theoretically, this means that users will be able to continue streaming videos or browsing the internet with no interruptions”.
For anyone looking to better understand iOS9, implement EMM in their organisation or have a wider discussion around Mobility including how to control data usage and bill-shock, fill out the form in the top right corner and someone will be in touch.