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Apple's partnership with IBM leaves CIOs hanging

Tom Kaneshige | July 17, 2014
CIOs have had little choice but to watch iPhones and iPads proliferate on their networks, even if securing and managing them is an IT headache. While the news of Apple and IBM joining forces in the mobile enterprise market grabbed headlines, CIO.com’s Tom Kaneshige writes the partnership fails to address BYOD concerns.

In terms of security and manageability, however, Apple's iOS still presents a major challenge for CIOs. It's only going to get worse, too, as IBM's vaunted salesforce taps long-standing business relationships to push iPhones and iPads. The problem is that iOS is a closed system tightly guarded by the powers in charge at Cupertino. Third-party MDM vendors don't have real access to iPhones and iPads.

Apple's indifference to the enterprise also meant that Apple didn't develop an enterprise-level management platform for iOS on par with BlackBerry Enterprise Server from RIM.

Hence, management and security challenges with iPhones and iPads remain. CIOs have had little choice but to enact strict policies and put limitations on the user experience on BYOD iPhones and iPads to contain the problem, which, in turn, upset employees. This has stymied BYOD programs at many companies. Some CIOs won't have anything to do with BYOD.

Unfortunately, Apple's new partnership with IBM didn't address this underlying concern.

"Apple does not like to relinquish control of their device management at the OS level, which is why so many BYOD programs are rejected by the users," says a technology executive at a large investment firm, speaking on condition of anonymity. "The only way you can create a secure enterprise-ready environment for iOS devices is to provide the same level of granular control that BlackBerry offers. That means Apple would have to allow IBM's MaaS360 to get its hooks into iOS."

Will Apple open up iOS to IBM? That's a question left unanswered.

 

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