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BYOD Support Provided By iOS, Android, BB, Windows


Written by  Ritu Saxena | 29 December 2012
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BYODBYOD practices are gaining momentum, smartphone users do not wish to give away the UX and performance they achieve with their chosen devices to the ones forcefully imposed upon them by the enterprises. The enterprises relish the cost savings that they get on adoption of BYOD, of course they can relish the BYOD benefits in the long run only if it does not pose any risk to enterprise security. Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Solutions bridge the gap between the BYOD needs of the employers and employees. 

Without the support from the underlying Mobile OS platform a robust EMM solution would not be possible. Let's have a look at some of the important BYOD features supported by the most popular mobile OS and its implication EMM Solution providers.

iOS

  • Apple provides support for hardware encryption, that can secure all the data at rest. This makes remote wipe possible, if the hardware key is removed the device will become useless.
  • Full MDM API’s are available, in addition to the API's Apple provides excellent documentation towards implementation of the API's which might be the reason behind Apple products being the first to be supported by all the EMM Vendor's. Apple also provides free small scale MDM utility called iPhone Configuration Utility.
  • iOS FindMyPhone App is available for free and can easily locate and remote wipe an iDevice in case it is lost or stolen.
  • iOS features the ability to disable the camera in case it is a requirement of enterprise policy deployment.
  • Shared PhotoStreams can also be disabled by the IT staffers if required.
Android
  • Whole Disk Encryption, makes it possible to encrypt the entire disk.
  • Device encryption API’s based on dm-crypt and App Level Encryption API’s are provided for the developers to customize encryption as per the enterprise needs.
  • Network Bandwidth Management API’s may be beneficial for the enterprise IT department to cut down mobile data costs when the device is connected to a commercial network.
  • Smart App Updates functionality, makes app updates smaller, faster and cheaper to download, it may give a boost to entire enterprise system security as employees would be keen to keep their apps up-to-date die t lesser overheads.
  • Ability to disable Device Camera Feature is also available with Android.
  • Multiple user support provided with Jelly Bean, might also help in realizing the need to provide separate login's for personal and professional use of the phone.
BlackBerry
  • BlackBerry Balance, a feature that facilitates two modes of device operation, business and professional mode. The business mode can be completely handled by the IT department of an enterprise without interfering with the personal space of the device owner.
  • BB10 provides support for a Unified Calendar app, instead of two; the second one coming into picture with the EMM solution adopted by the enterprise. A unified view of the work and personal calendar provides a lot of convenience to the end users.
  • BB Hub, a one-stop message centre helps users handle messages from multiple email accounts, BlackBerry Messenger, social networking sites and text messages all from a single interface. The BB Hub also features event notification service that alerts the device owner of an impending event.
  • BlackBerry replaces the need to have VPN connections, a secure enterprise connection with the BlackBerry Network Operation Centre(NOC) is enough, as the channel thereafter is much more secure than a VPN, and communication of the device with the NOC consumes much less battery.
Windows Phone 8
  • BitLocker Drive Encryption, a full disk encryption feature that encrypts the entire volume including the OS and data files, is a step to enforce enterprise security policies.
  • Windows8, Private Market Place, place on the Windows 8 app store allows Windows 8 apps to be distributed only to private set of customers, this will make it easier for enterprises to distribute the secure, enterprise specific apps to their employees.
  • IT departments can manage apps and phones remotely with tools similar to ones they now employ for Windows PCs.
It was the amazing UX that the Apple devices provided that people wished to use the devices for professional use in addition to personal usage. Though the devices were not originally made for professional use, the Mobile Device Management Software and the progressive MDM API's and the corresponding support by Apple helped realize the Consumerization of IT through Apple Devices. Hence the reason that all the MDM service providers, accomplished or the new entrants start their product portfolio with support for Apple Devices.

Android too has been following the suite of BYOD support that Apple has consolidated over the years. After Apple, the Android Devices rule the Mobile Handset space hence EMM software has to address these devices too. 
 
What the revamped Mobile OS's BlackBerry and Windows Phone 8 have done is, in addition to provisioning of BYOD features relating to Device and App Encryption and more, they  have also come up with their in house Mobile Device Management solutions that support multiple mobile platforms. Even before the release of BlackBerry10 devices in the market RIM has introduced BlackBerry Fusion, an MDM that can manage BB, iOS and Android devices, to gain the confidence of the enterprises.

Microsoft last year announced a cloud based PC and Mobile Device Management Solution for the SMB’s called InTune. InTune can remotely manage and help secure devices, including PCs, Windows Phone 8, and Windows RT tablets, iOS and Android based devices too. Windows Intune service can also be integrated with existing on-premises infrastructures, including Active Directory, System Center Configuration Manager, and Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. Whether employees prefer Windows Phone 8 based devices or not owing to the UX, Windows devices will definitely remain enterprise's choice owing to the existing Windows infrastructure the enterprises already own, the transition from PC's to Mobile Devices would be smooth sail henceforth with the adoption of Windows Phone 8 devices by the employees.

Having support from the Mobile OS for BYOD is definitely going to give BYOD a boost towards enterprise adoption. For MDM's, support for multiple platforms will be a challenge as they have to ensure enterprise security without compromising the native device experience from the end user perspective. With the Mobile OS platforms providers like Microsoft and RIM coming  up with their multi platform MDM solutions, the challenges are bound to increase, if not for the established players, for the start-up MDM solution providers. 

Image Source [www.moneycoach.ie]
Ritu Saxena

Ritu Saxena

Ritu is the technical brain behind the website and comes from a strong development background across Web and Mobile platforms. She is our senior editor primarily responsible for Product Reviews and in future will be leading Start-Ups, Mobile and Quality areas.

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