Why IT is powerless to stop Apple iPhone onslaught

“In less than a year, the iPhone has won the hearts of users, who speak of the combination cellphone, Internet device and music player with reverence,” Ben Worthen reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“Indeed, the iPhone, which maker Apple Inc. says has captured 28% of the U.S. smart-phone market, seems to be loved by everyone — everyone, that is, except those who work in corporate information-technology departments,” Worthen reports.

“Designed with the consumer in mind, the iPhone is less secure than business-oriented smart phones such as those from Nokia Corp. or Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry, according to IT professionals. But that isn’t stopping people from using the device for work-related tasks such as checking email, managing sales contacts and getting information about prospective clients. In fact, market researcher Nielsen Co. estimates that one-quarter of iPhone owners over the age of 18 pass their phone bills on to their employer, suggesting significant use of the device for business,” Worthen reports.

“Many IT groups have banned the iPhone from their workplaces, complaining that there is no way to force employees to protect their iPhones with passwords and that they can’t erase sensitive corporate data from remote locations if the device is stolen or lost. Additionally, they say the iPhone doesn’t support the software many businesses use and that it only works on one cellular carrier’s network,” Worthen reports. “But keeping the iPhone out of the office may be a losing battle. As a result, some technology experts say the iPhone could usher in a change in the way businesses adopt new technologies.”

Worthen reports, “As Beth Cannon, the San Francisco-based chief security officer for Thomas Weisel Partners Group, says: Even after she explains to people why her IT department can’t allow them to use the device, they ‘still want to use their iPhone.'”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Mike in Helsinki” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Note: Apple’s iPhone 2.0 software, scheduled for release this June, will include new enterprise features such as support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync to provide secure, over-the-air push email, contacts and calendars as well as remote wipe, and the addition of Cisco IPsec VPN for encrypted access to private corporate networks.

36 Comments

  1. My brother who works for Compuware in Michigan has an iPhone.. he’s been hoping for exchange support since he bought it..

    Unfortunately, his company’s response to the upcoming iPhone update was, “We will not be supporting Active-Sync…” Needles to say, he’s pissed..

    Strangely enough, the CEO of Compuware, Pete Karmanos owns an iPhone too.. They employ about 3000 people in Detroit, MI.

  2. Ok .. I’m one of those IT Nazi’s mentioned above.

    The Iphone is simply not viewed as an enterprise device (yet), I’m part of the 2.0 Beta and it’s very basic enterprise support so if your on a Blackberry and expect similar functionality you will be let down.

    I think it’s a great pro-sumer device but it’s core function is media, not exactly a business driver and please don’t go on and on about the SDK, it’s going to be Q4 or later for most business apps and many of the really good ones will not be free.

    So for small business, looser IT controlled businesses .. sure the iphone and similar will get exposure but here in fortune 100 world controls are in place to prevent.

    Desktops are locked down, so no loading of itunes (which is silly having it required, but it’s an apple control – welcome to the whole cirus deal)

    USB ports are disabled

    ActiveSync is controlled on Exchange and enabled on a per user level and will require approval, with ActiveSync your stuck with Outlook Web / Mobile Access.

    If it supports it, Microsoft Device Manager has even more controls to lock down the camera, loading of 3rd party applications etc.

    If needed we could kill the wireless signal and internal WIFI is locked down already to only approved devices.

    Mobility has a whole slew of concerns around it beyond, I want the latest cool gadget, data leakage is a growing concern and the thought of mp3/video on a corporate owned device is like water and oil.

    There will be interesting decisions and policies for Human Resource departments as the line between personal / work life balance confronts IT goverance.

    Don’t think this is just about not noticing exciting new technology, many companies are watching the iphone and happy with Blackberry.

    BTW Apple user since the IIe through my current G5 so I’m not anti apple .. I bought their products long before the ipod saved them.

  3. How about it being as simple as IT being there to serve the needs of the people actually DOING WORK and BILLING CLIENTS. IT doesn’t run the show, it’s the other way around.

    If people want it, then they should have it.

  4. june june june!!!!
    im getting an iphone!
    im getting an iphone!
    im getting an iphone!
    im getting an iphone!
    yippy!!!
    my wife is letting me get an iphone!!
    woohoo!!!
    im getting an iphone!
    im getting an iphone!
    im getting an iphone!

  5. I watched the keynote videos too. I look forward to seeing the newest iPhone upgrade with better exchange support. Unfortunately, we still will hear from the IT Windows Nazis that the iPhone and Mac OS are a security risk to their ultra-secure Windows-based networks. Whaaaat!?!?!?

  6. My firm announced support starting in June but the CIO commented that people need to realize it has NO physical keyboard and that email addicted road warriors will need to think really hard about that. Guess he hasn’t used one himself. Sure it takes a bit getting used to but not a big deal in the end.

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