Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 8, will be released today, spawning a flood of users updating their iPhones and iPads for new capabilities.
That will pose some problems for IT departments whose organizations either allow staff to bring their own devices to work or have standardized on iOS as their mobile platforms.
As Ryan Faas points out in Computerworld U.S., most of the new capabilities are aimed at consumers: Healthkit (a tool for developers that pulls user health information together for displaying on the new Health app dashboard), HomeKit (which enables iOS devices to connect to wirelessly-equipped home devices) and Handoff (which synchronizes iPhones, iPads and Macs).
But these capabilities also mean that Apple device owners could have even more personal data on their devices than ever. As a result, CIOs/CSOs should look at their security policies to ensure employees have ways to segregate private from corporate data. It’s a good time to think about the strength of your mobile device management system.
One possible wrinkle is that with smart phone owners increasingly interested in personal health and the marketing of smart watches as another way of tracking fitness, organizations may encourage employees to link data on personal devices to a company wellness portal. Again, this is an issue that has to be thoroughly examined.
There are also new commands for enterprise mobility management suites, which oversee not only devices but mobile apps as well. These commands can limit Internet search results from being included in Spotlight searches, and prevent iCloud synchronization for managed apps. There are also new commands for supervised devices that use Apple’s Device Enrollment Program or Apple Configurator.
iOS 7 introduced the ability for IT to manage apps from a corporately-approved site; controlling the ability of those apps to share information with others. iOS 8 adds the ability to have managed domains and managed ebooks, like PDFs.
The piece also points out that iOS 8 also adds seven extensions which now can be used to allow data transfers between apps, something that has been difficult until now. This may be controllable through an mobile application management solution.
These and other changes must be considered by IT before they get hit by the iOS 8 rush.