The release of iOS 7 brings with it a number of support
questions for enterprises with corporate-owned iOS devices, not to mention Bring
Your Own Device (BYOD) and Corporate Owned Personally Enabled (COPE)

Tim Williams, director of product management for Absolute Software, an end-point security
company, and I recently had a discussion about how IT can prepare for iOS 7 in
their enterprise. Here are his seven tips for supporting iOS 7.

1. Use Apple IDs for BYOD

Williams recommends using the Apple Volume Purchase Program (VPP)
to take advantage of the new iOS 7 App Store license management feature. If
your company isn’t already using VPP, it’s time to sign up for it, invite your
users, and phase it in for apps management.

With iOS 7, the VPP allows you to retain licenses to all of
the apps you distribute to user-owned devices. However, you need to ensure that
all your iPhone/iPad users have their own Apple ID (VPP doesn’t require their
Apple password) while onboarding them to your organization’s BYOD program.

He advises promoting
VPP to BYOD users by telling them that it’s
the best way for them to get the iOS apps they need to do their job. I would
add that perhaps it’s the best way for
BYOD users to get business apps without having to file an expense report.

2. Know your third-party iOS apps 

iOS 7 enables you to configure third-party apps remotely.
Williams uses the example of a SharePoint client app that requires a SharePoint
server address. While Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions can push the
configurations out, the developer needs to enable it.

Williams calls this, “One more item for the checklist when
you’re buying new apps for your company.”

Personally, I’m wondering if this new iOS 7 feature is going to influence any changes in mobile app
deployment, especially on BYOD and COPE devices.

3. Read the fine print

Williams advises to “read the fine print” when it comes to
the iOS 7 upgrade, because not all features are available on all devices or in
all countries. He recommends checking
your device inventory to see which of your devices support the new

You should also plan for exceptions, because you may have
some older devices in your corporate inventory that won’t support iOS 7 at all.

William’s “fine print” comment also raises questions around
BYOD devices. An upgrade to iOS 7 with your corporate support
plans/recommendations needs to be communicated to all your active BYOD

4. Test, retest, and rewrite

 “If you’ve developed
enterprise apps in-house, there’s a pretty good chance they won’t run on iOS 7,”
says Williams. “And, even if they do, it’s unlikely they’ll leverage all of the
new functionality.”

He recommends taking the time to test each app before you
update to iOS 7. This allows you to avoid countless calls to the help desk from
employees reporting something wrong with an app that’s essential for their

5. Decide between BYOD vs. COPE

“Now may be the perfect time to switch to COPE devices,” says Williams. “With iOS 7, you can
implement your own MDM enrollment process right out of the box.”

Williams believes, “This is easier for employees, since the device they’re
handed will already be corporately compliant — and more secure for you because
standards will be consistent across all devices.” 

My question here is that with BYOD security and COPE
initiatives all over the map, will iOS 7 be a tipping point for these
initiatives in the enterprise?

6. Use Per app VPNs for improved app performance

The new Per app VPN feature in iOS 7 mean users will not be
forced to run their whole device through a VPN, which can degrade performance.

A Per app VPN also
means that you can segregate your business app data inside your secure network
without carrying your iTunes Radio traffic.

However, Williams cautions that Per app VPNs don’t matter if
you aren’t mapping how each app connects to the requisite resource. He also
says that the plan doesn’t have to be in place on day one, but Per app VPNs
might require some infrastructure changes in order for your mobile users to
reap the benefits.

7. Upgrade to iOS 7

While I remain on the fence about upgrading my one-year-old
iPhone 5 to iOS 7, due to a poor upgrade experience to iOS 6, Williams was
enthusiastic about the iOS 7 upgrade. His
final bit of advice was to upgrade to iOS 7.

Speaking with him, I found myself catching a bit of his
enthusiasm for the upgrade. I’m certain that either my iPad or iPad Mini will
make the upgrade at the earliest opportunity (for reasons completely
TechRepublic, naturally).


Following the tips from Williams, your mobile workforce can
take advantage of iOS 7’s management, new security, and BYOD/COPE-related
features with just a bit of upfront planning.

Are you planning to immediately upgrade to iOS 7? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.