iPhone 2.0: A revolutionary gadget for enterprises

End of a long wait! It’s time for planning to have your users with iPhone 2.0 devices. If you already have users with iPhone 2.0, it’s the time to learn how seamlessly you can integrate with your existing environments. Deployment scenarios, infrastructure design and device configuration will change depending on which email server the organization is using and also, what level of security you wish to implement along with iPhone.

Apple already announced the support for following:

  1. Microsoft Exchange Server (both Exchange 2003 & Exchange 2007)
  2. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) using Cisco
  3. WPA2 Enterprise/802.1x
  4. iPhone and IMAP

Microsoft Exchange Server Support

Exchange hosting providers rejoice with the launch of iPhone 2.0! Now they can offer more to its users on the Wireless Messaging option.Using iPhone 2.0 software, users are able to connect directly to the Microsoft Exchange Server using Exchange ActiveSync protocol. Thereby users having the ability of push email, contacts, and calendar. As usual with Windows Mobile Device, Exchange ActiveSync constantly maintains a connection between Microsoft Exchange Server and iPhone. This allows the iPhone to get immediately updated as soon as new mails or meeting requests arrives. If your hosting providers are currently supporting Exchange ActiveSync on Exchange Server 2003 or 2007, you are all set to go with push mail services using iPhone 2.0 and you do not require further configuration or additional infrastructure.”Mobility, reliability and security are among the most important trends impacting messaging today. When Apple announced its plans to license Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync for the iPhone, it opened the door for enterprises to take advantage of Exchange’s rich communications platform.” said Michael Osterman, president of Osterman Research, a leading analyst firm in the messaging and collaboration space. In the coming months, you will see more and more Exchange Hosting Providers are coming up with iPhone 2.0 supports for its customers.

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I was having some conversation with AppRiver who introduced the iPhone 2.0 support right after Steve Jobs announced at Worldwide Developers Conference. They were also the first one partner with Akamai to make the Internet behave more consistently for business-quality application delivery such as reliable access to MS Outlook, Outlook Web Access & Mobile devices including iPhone 2.0.

How secure is iPhone 2.0 if used with Microsoft Exchange Server? 

iPhone 2.0 with ActiveSync is secure with following policies:

  1. Remote wipe – For example, if device is stolen remote wipe is the only rescue.
  2. Enforce password on device – The moment ActiveSync is enabled, policies will be automatically pushed down to the iPhone which also enforce a password for the device.
  3. Minimum password length – This can be determined by Organization depending on its company password policy. I have noticed users reporting complaints on longer password on this tiny mobile device.
  4. Require alphanumeric password – This is would be very difficult to guess
  5. Require complex password – I would recommend this if company thinks security is important.
  6. Inactivity time in minutes – Another must have feature.

If you look at the above security policies, there is not much significant difference in security between Windows Mobile device & iPhone. I will continue the last part of this topic on my next blog post.

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