Secure iPhone Access to Corporate Web Applications

02 September 2011
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The way corporations operate around mobile devices is currently shifting—employees are starting to use their own devices for business purposes, rather than company-owned devices. With no direct control of the endpoints, IT departments have generally had to prohibit this or risk insecure access inside the firewall. But as more mobile devices appear on the corporate network, mobile device management has become a key IT initiative.

Mobile devices have become computers in their own right, with a huge array
of applications, significant processing capacity, and the ability to handle high
bandwidth connections. They are the primary communications device for many, for both personal and business purposes.  Many IT executives are planning to make internal business applications available to employees from their smartphones or mobile devices. This goes beyond email and includes CRM applications, ERP systems, and even proprietary in-house applications.
Because personal mobile devices are so prevalent, many organizations are moving from corporate ownership of devices to allowing employees to use their own devices for business purposes. Some companies view this as a cost-saving measure, but identifying these personal devices as legitimate endpoints is still a challenge, especially when it comes to security and compliance. In addition to smartphones, tablet devices like the Apple iPad and a whole new array of computing devices are requesting access to corporate resources.

The 2007 launch of the iPhone changed the way people perceive and use mobile devices. The iPhone isn’t just for the tech-savvy—parents, celebrities, retailers, and everyone in between love to use the iPhone for personal purposes and for work. The first iPhone was missing a few important features that would have made it a business-capable device. But as new generations hit the market and iOS matured, the iPhone became a viable business device. iOS 4 is compatible with Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync accounts and Exchange Server, so users can configure multiple email accounts for secure access on their iPhones. Business apps like Documents To Go enable iPhone users to not only view Microsoft Word and Excel documents, but to create and edit them as well. Companies like Salesforce, SAP, and Oracle have released general business apps and business intelligence and HR apps.

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