Fingerprint recognition may make the iPhone 5S the go-to smartphone for the enterprise

Fingerprint recognition may make the iPhone 5S, expected to be announced later today, the go-to smartphone for the enterprise.

Earlier this year, at a multibillion-dollar enterprise customer of Magenic’s, I saw the pain of using iOS 6—without Kerberos single sign-on—when users had to continually enter usernames and passwords as they traversed through SharePoint server after SharePoint server. This made their system non-viable from a usability perspective. Nobody used it, and IT really couldn’t blame the user.

If Apple combines the rumored fingerprint recognition with the already-announced enterprise features of iOS 7, including per-app VPN, Kerberos SSO, “Open in…” management, enterprise ownership (and possible reassignment) of App Store purchases, AirDrop, iCloud Keychain, and Password Generator, then the iPhone 5S* may very well become the phone to beat for the enterprise.

These features combine high security with ease of use in a heretofore unseen manner. IT is satisfied, and users are thrilled. A win-win combo if ever there was one.

Will BYOD become BYOiD? Bring your own iOS device.

*–Note than a less expensive iPhone 5C is also rumored to be announced today, but it will likely not have the fingerprint recognition on the Home button the way the 5S will.

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iOS 7 and Kerberos Single Sign-On (SSO)

As expected, some amazing news came out of Apple’s WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference) this week. And while much of it was consumer-oriented, there was one particular new feature revealed that is of extreme importance to the enterprise*.

Buried deep on the iOS 7 Features page (http://www.apple.com/ios/ios7/features/), Apple talks about “enterprise single sign-on support”. Now, I don’t know about you, but for several of Magenic’s enterprise clients, this is the holy grail that they’ve been waiting for.

I’ll take a stab and presume that Apple is talking about Kerberos single sign-on (SSO), as that is the industry standard. And, whether it’s API-based or configuration profile-based, it could be the answer to many an IT executive’s dreams.

SSO has been in the enterprise for over a decade, but hasn’t made an official appearance on iOS or Android mobile devices, yet, other than a technology preview for Android from 3rd parties (i.e., not as part of the OS itself). Kerberos, it turns out, was never originally designed for mobile devices. Microsoft was first to market with a mobile Kerberos solution, when it shipped Windows Phone 8 with Kerberos support. iOS and Android lagged in this respect, so it’s good for enterprises to hear that iOS 7 now supports Kerberos for SSO.

For the enterprise, this may be the single most important new feature in iOS 7. The flat new user interface is garnering the most media attention, but enterprises know that connectivity rules supreme. Any mobile solution, whether BYOD or corporate-provided devices, must have a simple, user-friendly way for employees to connect to multiple networks and servers with a single sign-on.

*Unfortunately, Apple’s NDA for the iOS 7 beta means I can only discuss publicly available information. (If you provide me evidence of an Apple Developer Account, I’ll be glad to discuss more with you via my employer, Magenic.com.)

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