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IPads storm the enterprise

Maria Korolov | Feb. 14, 2011
As global accounts director at Altus, Inc., Michelle Klatt's job is to visit Fortune 500 companies and demonstrate her firm's video management software. When the iPad came out a year ago, she was all over it.

"It's not as sophisticated as the Blackberry, which has something like 500 security settings," Jaquith says. "But it has the important ones nailed."

As a result, he says, the iPad is a pretty secure system, with a decent set of centralized, enterprise-friendly management tools, he says.

Still room for improvement

The iPad isn't going to cut it for NSA-level, top secret applications that require separate levels of biometric authentication, he says. However, individual applications can ask for one-time passwords generated by RSA or VeriSign (VRSN) key fobs, or access confirmation delivered over a separate cell phone.

In addition, while iPad e-mail can be funneled through a company network - with all the monitoring, archiving and auditing already built into the enterprise gateways - text messages go out over less secure telephone networks.

"Many enterprises want to archive SMS messages as part of their compliance," he says. "For example, you need to archive SMS if it's used for your day trading business."

The current version of the iPad also lacks a front-facing camera, which could be useful for face recognition biometric access control.

"That is supposed to be taken care of with the new version of the iPad," he says. "When that happens, you may see some more focus from a third-party application perspective."

Also, Apple needs to do more work to close down some of the jailbreaking access points that may allow rogue applications to get on a device, he says. But there are also ways for companies to run security scans to check if any devices have been jailbroken, he adds.

"Our verdict is that 90 to 95% of the companies are going to be very happy with the capabilities of the device, and all they need is help configuring their policies appropriately," he says.

iPads in the field

There are two options for people like Klatt, who want to run Salesforce.com on their iPads. The Salesforce CRM app can run natively on the iPad. This allows users to access their CRM data when offline, but that convenience comes with a price -- limited functionality. Klatt prefers to access Salesforce's SAAS application via iPad's built-in Safari browser. "I like to leverage the entire screen and get all the functionality," she says.

Klatt bought the Wi-Fi-only version of the iPad, and uses it in conjunction with a Verizon MiFi card. In addition to her work-related tasks, she also uses the iPad for banking, personal e-mail, to look up flights while traveling, and to read magazines.

 

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