Five must-know enterprise features of iOS 8

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Five must-know enterprise features of iOS 8

Apple has unveiled a raft of new enterprise features in iOS 8, in a further sign of the vendor's enterprise aspirations.

The new phone and tablet OS includes a raft of new business features, including MDM tools, increased security for third party apps, and extra security for key user data such as mail and contact lists.

1. New MDM tools: allow administrators to prevent users from adding restrictions or erasing services, according to the Apple website. Administrators can also see when a device was last backed up to iCloud, while a remote management feature is designed to make MDM "easier and more transparent" for users.

2. Certificate-based single sign-on: the new operating system will also allow the use of certificate-based single sign-on for users to authenticate to enterprise apps.

3. Passcode protection: A passcode now protects Calendar, Contacts, Reminders, Notes and Messages apps and user credentials until after a device is unlocked following a reboot.

Messaging security has also been increased, with iOS 8 users able to sign and encrypt S/MIME messages.

4. MDM tools: Administrators can also automatically push PDFs and iBooks and ePub files to devices using MDM tools.

5. Document control: Another new feature is the ability for IT departments to control which apps can open documents downloaded from enterprise domains using Safari, according to the Apple website. Rules can also control opening of apps from iCloud.

While the new features are a positive step, they alone won't win adoption for Apple in the enterprise, argued Telsyte analyst Rodney Gedda.

"It's a question of integration; it's not a question of raw features. There's so many features in Apple devices that could be taken advantage of by enterprise," he said.

Apple is the leading enterprise supported smartphone and tablet operating system in Australia, Gedda said.

While Windows is on the "back foot", in terms of developer support, Gedda said there are still cases where Apple has so far failed to convert businesses.

"There's not really anything that's holding Apple back in the enterprise, but there may be some use cases where companies weren't satisfied with security levels," he said.

Gedda pointed to legacy Windows apps that aren't available on Apple devices, as well as terminal green screens which are still "widely in use" for data processing.

Service provider MSC Mobility has stated it is working with MDM vendors such as AirWatch, MobileIron and Citrix on the features above.

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