Tools & Technologies

Mobile Iron for Managing Mobile Devices with Corporate Data

During one of my meetings yesterday, we started talking about the impact of the iPad on the corporate world – where employees bring their own iPad’s in the door and want to use them for corporate tasks. Andrew asked if I’d heard of MobileIron (I hadn’t), and told me about their capabilities for iPad management.

Users love the iPhone and iPad experience and want that same experience at work. IT departments must now provision, secure, and manage corporate and employee-owned iOS devices as they do other platforms.

MobileIron enables companies to deploy iPhones and iPads at scale by bridging the gap between the security and control IT needs and the experience end-users demand.

The MobileIron platform includes an easy-to-install server that plugs into your corporate network and is up and running in less than a day, plus a MobileIron iOS application that is available for download on the App Store.

In essence:
– MobileIron enables the creation of a separate corporate image on the iPad. The user can still do their personal stuff on their iPad, plus get access to their corporate data in a secure way.
– Users can install applications from the App Store on the personal side, and the corporate image can not access these. Corporate IT can install apps from a corporate App Store, and the personal apps can’t access these.
– Corporate IT can lock down particular capabilities – the camera, Safari, YouTube, and more.
– If the device is lost, corporate IT can wipe the corporate image remotely. When the employee leaves, the same can happen.

My Comments
1. With the proliferation of employee-owned devices making their way into organizations, capabilities such as what MobileIron offer are essential to good security practices.

2. Research In Motion enables security of BlackBerry devices via profiles, configuration settings, and encryption. The RIM BlackBerry Enterprise Server has been a boon for corporate control of BlackBerry devices. MobileIron is doing the same for a wider range of devices, such as iPhone and iPad.

3. I have not put MobileIron through its paces in an evaluation, but it looks a very elegant approach to the challenge.

4. If you want to learn more, see the MobileIron iOS 4 Management Demonstration on YouTube. It’s about the iPhone though, not the iPad.

Categories: Tools & Technologies

5 replies »

  1. There is no MobileIron magic here – it’s really enabled by Apple iOS MDM support on their devices. All MDM vendors can provision and maintain the iPad via Apple’s over-the-air APIs.
    Conceptually, it may seem like IT is placing a “corporate image” on the device, but that’s not the reality. Instead MDM vendors can remotely provision the device per their policy, but they need the user’s permission. The “corporate image” is really all the settings and configurations that are activated via iOS configuration profiles, of which there is an MDM master profile. Remove the MDM profile and you effectively delete the corporate image. The sandbox architecture of the iOS platform separates corporate apps from personal apps.
    Find a complete list of MDM vendors at http://www.apple.com/ipad/business/integration/mdm/

  2. If the MDM is installed in my iphone, can the security folks see my personal texts, emails, info w/in the various apps I download?

  3. Jenn, as far as I know, MobileIron administrators can see which applications are installed on your device.