New Features Make iOS 8 A Viable Option For IT Departments

18 Sep

The first iPhone was officially introduced over seven years ago on June 29, 2007. At the time of its introduction it was not thought of as a device that would be good for business use as more and more business was being done on the go outside the secure confines of the office. Up until that time the Blackberry was the favorite among business users for a number of reasons, including its intuitive and easy to use keyboard as well as its overall security. It was an IT department’s dream.

Since that time a lot of things have changed. The Blackberry has fallen into obscurity and given way to new devices and operating systems. The latest mobile operating system to hit the market is iOS 8 along with the latest Apple mobile device, the iPhone 6. Seven years and six iPhones later we sit here today wondering if the iPhone and its operating system, iOS, have improved to the point that they can handle the needs of businesses and the scrutiny of IT departments.

Currently, iOS holds about a 10% world market share compared to other mobile operating systems such as Android and Windows Phone. This means that a significant amount of people throughout the world are using iOS; and they’re using it for a number of different reasons. Until now, iOS was not considered one of the best platforms for business users because of security, data protection, and device control concerns among other things. The introduction of iOS 8 has Apple responding to many of these concerns and making iOS a more viable option for businesses.

Device Control & Management

Having a certain level of control over a user device is important for IT departments. iOS 8 introduces a new mobile device management interface that allows IT to more easily add a device to the network and allows IT to see the last time the device was backed up. Further control options include the ability to determine which apps can open documents from enterprise domains, which apps can open documents from iCloud, and the ability to control user restrictions and whether or not a user can erase a device.

Security Features

Of course when it comes to mobile device usage for business the first question is about the device’s security. New security features with iOS 8 allow IT departments to breath a little easier. Users already had the ability to encrypt Mail and some other apps with a passcode. In the new iOS users have the ability to encrypt Messages, Contacts, Calendar entries, Notes, and Reminders – some of the most used apps for users doing business on their phone on a daily basis. Furthermore, users with certain permissions have the ability to encrypt individual email messages for added safety and security.

Certainly security is a major reason for choosing certain devices or mobile operating systems. However, a device also needs to allow the user to do their job efficiently while they’re away from the office. As we said earlier, more and more business is being done outside the office and it’s important to be able to do your job with a high rate of production. iOS 8 addresses this idea as well.

New mail features allow for individual mail threads to be marked as VIP and a custom folder will house all VIP messages. Exchange users can now set automatic reply messages to be sent to emails for the times you’re unavailable or taking that much needed vacation. The Calendar functions are much improved as well allowing users to more easily schedule meetings with other users. For instance, users can now see other’s availability allowing to more easily suggest and schedule a meeting time. It’s much simpler to schedule recurring events and the app even has a built in messaging system allowing you to easily alert attendees of changes close to meeting time. Finally, users can now transfer files from iOS to OS X even when there is no Internet connection.

Overall, Apple has made some great strides when it comes to making their mobile devices and operating systems more business friendly. For years Apple and Mac were always seen as devices for the consumer or for the designer. Windows was the platform of choice for businesses, and continues to be a huge part, but iOS and OS X are making their way into the business world more and more. Adding features such as these makes IT departments and their business users more confident, comfortable, and secure. We’re looking forward to future additions and improvements as iPhone and iOS become more engrained in every day business.