Neil MacDonald

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Neil MacDonald
VP & Gartner Fellow
15 years at Gartner
25 years IT industry

Neil MacDonald is a vice president, distinguished analyst and Gartner Fellow in Gartner Research. Mr. MacDonald is a member of Gartner's information security and privacy research team, focusing on operating system and application-level security strategies. Specific research areas include Windows security…Read Full Bio

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Apple’s iOS 7 is a Significant Step Forward

by Neil MacDonald  |  August 14, 2013  |  2 Comments

From a security perspective, I’ve been keeping a close eye on iOS and Android. From what I’ve seen so far, iOS 7 is a significant step forward.

To get deeper insight as to the changes, I’ve asked my colleague, Garter VP and Distinguished Analyst Ken Dulaney, to provide a guest post. Here’s what Ken has to say:

Sources say that iOS 7 will be released to the market and on new devices September 10, 2013. While consumers will be excited by this release there are many improvements for the enterprise, an area which has been in desperate need of more features from Apple. Gartner has produced a new note for clients on iOS 7 for the enterprise titled: “iOS 7 Offers Major Improvements for the Enterprise“. Since the release of iOS 4 where Apple expanded its Mobile Device Management APIs, Apple has only provided limited enhancements to enterprise security and manageability. This has changed with iOS 7. In this release, Apple through its single signon, background processing and per-App VPN improvements has enabled enterprises in cooperation with a licensed Mobile Device Management solution to dramatically change how iOS devices are managed.

Today, most devices are managed either by limited policies (e.g. device wipe, password enforcement), containers in which users must log into to access business applications and images where the entire disk is managed through a single console. Blackberry introduced a new idea called managed communities when Blackberry 10 devices were introduced with Blackberry Balance. Apple’s approach is also classified as a managed community.

Managed communities assume that applications start off in the consumer realm but can join, at the user option, an enterprise community governed by an MDM tool. Once they become a member they enjoy or are denied certain privileges to work with the other application members of the community. This provides separation of business applications from consumer but doesn’t require the user to log into a container to access business applications. Consumer and business applications are equally accessible but the business applications are governed by advanced policies supported by the MDM tool.

One of the key feature in iOS 7 gets around the issue that when attachments are opened, the file to be viewed must be copied to the sandbox area (all Apple applications are sandboxed with true separation of data to prevent viruses from spreading) controlled by the reading application which may be in turn a consumer application. This flow of enterprise information from a protected to an unprotected area troubled many iOS supporters. With the new features, this can be controlled.

There are many more enterprise features coming and many implications for how you manage iOS 7 devices that we explore in detail in the full research note for Gartner clients.

Bottom line: Start adapting your mobile device security and management strategy to include iOS 7 now.

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