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Feb 12, 2011

Enterprise iTunes vs Multi Year Enterprise Licenses

Oliver Mark's recent ZDNet article Enterprise iTunes: The challenges of mobile collaboration management has some great observations about the challenge of the "consumerization of IT" versus IT requirements.

He points out that "IT folks tied into multi year enterprise licenses are very frustrated at having to deal with individual iTunes account usage". This is true, but there is a solution for Enterprises that wish to deploy their own "in-house" apps using the Apple iOS Developer Enterprise Program (IDEP). This can be combined with something like Apperian's EASE that provides a custom "App Catalog" for employees, and a way to authenticate, authorize, and and perform version updates.

However, his concern about the "sloppily coded applications individuals are installing on their phones" and "security risks [based on] dual use of mobile devices for both work and personal use." is exaggerated, in my opinion. This reflects the old-school "lock down" mentality, and harkens back to the day when we got blackberries with everything but email and phone shut off. We are well beyond that now!

First, any app downloaded from iTunes has been reviewed by Apple, and any app that is discovered to compromise the device can be shut down.

Second, apps developed with the IDEP are built by the company - and we can assume that these are checked before deployment to employees!

Finally, the IOS already has built in "sandboxes" that deal with malware, etc. That's why you don't see "anti-virus apps" on iPhones - they are just not required right now.


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