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article imageReview: How iOS 7 addresses bring-your-own-device security concerns

By Jenna Cyprus     Oct 11, 2013 in Technology
Companies that rely on employees to use their own smartphones and tablets at work have encountered many IT challenges. How can your organization maintain security standards if employees are mixing their professional and personal lives on their devices?
These situations can create the perfect storm of human error, data vulnerabilities, unauthorized access, and software attacks. Fortunately, iOS 7 has introduced some compelling security features, such as Per-app VPN, new MDM configurations, and "open-in" management.
Your IT department can leverage these tools to increase BYOD security at your organization.
Per-app VPN
IT departments wring their hands over the thought of employees sending inappropriate information across secure company networks. Just imagine: Someone is taking a lunch break, and he or she is browsing the web, making purchases, and streaming music over your company's network.
Even worse, what if your company apps are being launched on unsecured networks, such as a public Wi-Fi access point in a coffee shop or library? This unregulated traffic can lead to major problems, especially if an employee's device gets lost or hacked.
Today app developers can control whether or not their apps must use VPN. Your in-house developers can restrict all traffic to VPN, so these apps will always connect to your secure network.
If you're searching for third-party software in the App Store, be sure to keep an eye out for "per-app VPN" listed as a feature before you install something new.
"Open-in" app management
When people open files on their iPhones and iPads, they are presented with a list of apps to open these documents in. But what if an image, PDF, or document file is corrupt, infected, or not work related? IT departments can now corral specific file types between authorized company apps.
This means you have fine-tuned control over which apps can share data and what they can connect to. For example, you might have three important company apps, but you want only two of them to exchange information with each other. These configurations are now possible with "open-in" management.
MDM options
iOS 7 comes with a slew of new MDM features that allow IT departments to improve security on remote BYOD technology. You now have greater control over AirPlay, so employees can't randomly send videos, music, and photos to stream on unauthorized devices.
Instead, you can create an AirPlay whitelist to control where streaming media is sent. The iPhone Configuration Utility can load managed app settings wirelessly, which is a big shift from the corded installs of iOS 6.
This means your devices no longer have to be centralized to one location to receive managed app updates. This untethered approach caters to real-life BYOD scenarios, since your company employees may be scattered across different cities and countries.
The new MDM features also give you greater opportunities for branding devices. You have the ability to install custom fonts and give employees easier access to branded text styles. When they send correspondence and create work-related documents on their iPhones and iPads, they'll be able to stylize documents in a way that best suits your organization's image. You no longer have to use the default Apple fonts while creating content.
Accessibility options can also be configured across mobile device management software. This ensures that visual, hearing, and motion settings are standardized across all of your employee devices.
These features aren't only useful for those with disabilities; the accessibility features allow you to configure UI processes. For example, you can set employee iPhones to flash the LED whenever they receive calls or alerts.
iOS 7 truly brings new security customizations to the table; it allows companies to keep work and life separate on their employees' devices.
MDM features let you roll these updates out to employees wirelessly, so they don't have to go through the inconvenience of visiting an IT specialist. These new changes will help protect organizations against unauthorized data access, security leaks, and accidents.
More about iOS 7, BYOD, bring your own device, ios 7 security, Apple
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