How iOS7’s Built-in Security Features Help to Fortify BYOD

iPhone and iPad users are prime targets for all kinds of criminals – not just hackers, but also thieves looking to physically steal these devices. Instead of camping out overnight in front of an Apple store to get their hands on the newest model, they’d rather let you do the waiting and get their hands on yours.

While Apple’s new product launches showcase flashy features like enhanced camera resolution, sharp Retina displays and faster processors, the security enhancements tend to fly under the radar. With iOS7, the folks at Apple have gone the extra mile to protect mobile devices and data accessed through those devices.

IT managers at organizations with bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategies are smiling. Criminals are not.

Here’s a rundown of security tools available on iPhones and iPads through iOS7:

  • Find My Phone. This authentication tool allows users to remotely lock a lost or stolen device, send a message to it and erase data. It can only be disabled with an Apple user name and password.
  • Activation Lock. A function of Find My Phone, Activation Lock prevents thieves from restoring factory defaults by requiring an Apple user name and password to restore or reactivate a device.
  • Erase Authentication. Authentication in the form of the device passcode is required to erase device data.
  • Simplified Privacy Controls. Application permissions that control which apps can access device data can be managed with an on/off switch.
  • Enhanced Data Encryption. All data in both iOS7 and third-party apps are automatically encrypted as long as you have the device passcode.
  • Per-App Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN enables a secure connection with a corporate network by encrypting data. With per-app VPN, business application data can be separated from personal application data so users don’t have to run their entire device through a VPN.

What do these security enhancements mean for your organization? First, it’s a clear signal that BYOD is here to stay. Leading mobile device manufacturers are working hard to empower users with the necessary tools to securely use their mobile devices for work and protect company data. From a business perspective, it makes sense. Why wouldn’t a company like Apple want their devices in their customers’ hands all day long?

Second, BYOD can’t be successful without robust security. While advances in device security from the manufacturers represent a huge step in the right direction, organizations can’t rely solely on those measures to protect the corporate network. Organizations are best served by viewing built-in security tools on mobile devices as a supplemental layer of security on top of a comprehensive corporate network security system.

As thieves and hackers become even more sophisticated in their attacks, a combination of network security and device security will help organizations that want to fully leverage BYOD.