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IT will have a love-hate relationship with iOS 7, OS X Mavericks and iCloud

Ryan Faas | June 17, 2013
With updated OSes and iCloud, Apple will please some, annoy others

Data Protection By Default — Apple has allowed developers to take advantage of security APIs since the release of iOS 4 three years ago. Stepping up app security, Apple will be including data protection features as the default for all iOS 7 apps. The move will increase overall security, which remains a challenge for many organizations when corporate data is stored in third-party apps selected by employees that may or may not take advantage of Apple's security capabilities.

Per-App VPNs — There are plenty of tasks that require users to connect to a corporate network while they're out of the office. iOS has long offered VPN capabilities and the ability to initiate a connection only when needed. In offering per-app VPN capabilities, Apple is helping to take some of the load off a corporate VPN server. While that's good news for IT, it's also good news for users since it can mean faster connectivity to Internet or cloud resources that are not behind a corporate firewall.

Automatic App Updates — One challenge to the BYOD movement is that IT generally doesn't have the ability to patch every user's device when security threats arise. By adding automatic updates for iOS and OS X, that concern is largely mitigated.

Wi-Fi Hot Spot 2.0 — This new feature allows an iOS device to more seamlessly and efficienly transfer from one Wi-Fi hotspot to another. While that in itself is a smart move, the bigger advantage is that it will encourage users to rely on Wi-Fi rather than their device's 3G or LTE connection. Given that LTE makes it easier for users to burn through data caps, this subtle functionality could yield real savings on data fees.

Mavericks Server — The evolution of OS X Server through its Lion and Mountain Lion releases has seemed like a march out of the enterprise and into the small business market. Apple didn't mention Mavericks Server during the WWDC keynote, but it did offer a bit of info on the Mavericks webpage. Apple only highlighted three features. The first is an update to the iOS and Mac management Profile Manager feature — essentially a low-cost MDM solution, albeit one that only manages Apple devices. The second is broader use of the Caching Server feature introduced in Mountain Lion Server 10.8.2. Caching Server currently lets companies mirror updates from the Mac App Store, which can speed update downloads and reduce load on an company's Internet connection. In Mavericks Server, this capability is being extended to iOS 7 devices — and it looks like Apple will support hosting apps as well as updates. That will be a powerful addition to any app management system that Apple offers. Finally, there's a new Xcode Server feature that appears to be designed to ease and streamline app development and testing processes in a team environment. If this is an example of Apple's focus for Mavericks Server (likely running on the new Mac Pro), it seems like a toolkit for enterprise app development and deployment.

 

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