Enterprise iPads: Policies on personal iPads and remote access

What options do enterprise managers have when executives and other staff bring personal iPads to work and want to connect to company services? The new, more-capable mobile devices such as the iPad, may stretch the definitions currently found in company compliance policies.

What options do enterprise managers have when executives and other staff bring personal iPads to work and want to connect to company services? The new, more-capable mobile devices such as the iPad, may stretch the definitions currently found in company compliance policies.

A recent post on the Citrix Systems blog by Chris Fleck, vice president of community and solutions development, discussed secure remote access options for iPad, including native apps, VPN with Web apps, hosted virtual apps, and virtual desktops. It also looks at IT considerations for company-owned and personal iPads, and applications.

The personal iPad brings its own share of problems for IT managers.

Many early adopter employees and specifically executives are now bringing their new iPad to work and asking IT for access to company apps. One problem is most companies have policies against storing company data on anything but company owned equipment. While the iPad does include a great email app including support for Exchange, the decision needs to be made to change the company policy or allow exceptions for iPad users.

Beyond email, corporate calendars are also supported by the iPad, however most users complain of conflicts and errors compared to Outlook Calendar. The best solution for most companies dealing with personal iPads is to not allow apps or data to run locally. IT can provide safe remote access to hosted email and apps or virtual desktops.

Of course, Citrix sees advantages in running hosted virtual applications.

With XenApp IT can dictate what user gets what app and can easily turn on or off access to applications without managing the iPad itself. Only a single app, the Citrix Receiver is required on the iPad and the configuration can be done via emailed or clicking a link on an intranet web wage. No MDM software is required or concern about company data on personal iPads. A con of this method is that a WiFi or 3G connection and apps will not work offline.

According to a Citrix survey in May, the iPad is proving to be a monster hit in its enterprise customer base.

•80 percent will purchase and use the iPad for business. •84 percent of organizations will support personal iPads; 50 percent expect their organization to purchase for them. •Primary app to be used on the iPad are productivity apps with 87 percent response rate. •90 percent of respondents will use iPad for business email, closely followed by the ability to view, edit and create presentations. Nearly 60 percent of respondents indicated that they will use iPad for online meetings and to access critical business information. •Largest benefits: 90 percent indicated increased mobility to work remote, at home, or anywhere, 74 percent indicated improved productivity and satisfaction.

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