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Apple Ups Its Enterprise Features

While Apple may not have spent much time discussing the new enterprise features coming to iOS 9 during its WorldWide Developer Conference last month, there are some big updates to look forward to.

With its push into the workplace, Apple is stepping up its offerings when it comes to enterprise-related features, specifically related to device security and management, application management and distribution, the SiliconANGLE blog reported yesterday (July 2).

From a security standpoint, Apple is moving iPhones and iPads equipped with a Touch ID from four-digit to six-digit passcodes. While only the simple passcode is being changed, users will still have the options to utilize a more complex passcode if desired.

Another major change is that users will no longer be required to use an Apple ID when installing enterprise apps. Instead, enterprises are given full control of app distribution, installations and updates — meaning users will only have to login with enterprise credentials in order to download relevant apps.

The new iOS 9 is expected to add improved application security and trust features as well. Enterprise applications will be automatically trusted, resulting in users no longer having to go through prompts to determine whether or not they trust the developer.

The company is also looking to ease app distribution by assigning licenses for its Volume Purchase Program (VPP) to devices rather than individual users, SiliconANGLE reported. This program can then be used to broaden app purchases, for example, allowing purchases to be made in a home region prior to being distributed to employees in other counties through the VPP.

Employee-installed apps will also have the ability to be converted by companies into managed apps; this feature can be done in the background without using additional user data and prior to applying any necessary policies for security and governance processes. The newly updated operating system may also include additional options for device restriction, such as treating AirDrop, the tool used to wirelessly transferring data between devices, as a completely unmanaged destination. New restriction options may also be available for automatic app uploads, iCloud photo libraries and keyboard shortcuts, among others.

Device enrollment functions will be updated with Apple’s new Mobile Device Management (MDM) server, which can keep the Setup Assistant active until the configuration and deployment of devices is complete.

In addition, iOS 9 devices will be able to go through enrollment via USB cable to Apple Configurator, no longer requiring each device to go through configuration on its own display. Administrators will also be able to have a bit more authority over removing setup assistant panes and blocking the side-loading of apps installs from outside of the Apple Store’s enterprise app catalog.

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