One of the biggest trends during the past few years has been the invasion of businesses by consumer equipment. The leading devices making this leap, of course, are those from Apple.
IT departments may be the most conflicted by the move. As techies, the vast majority of them probably love the Apple products. It is likely that more than a few of them are owners. At the same time, however, consumer-oriented devices can lack the security and management mechanisms that these folks depend on to do their jobs.
The question is a fairly clear one: How secure is Apple? InformationWeek contributor Kurt Marko answers the question — at least as far as the iPad is concerned — with the opinion that its security is “surprisingly robust.” Marko offers a short but very informative rundown. In the final analysis, he suggests that the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch are doing a good job, though they aren’t quite at the level of the BlackBerry, which, of course, broke its teeth in the enterprise. He runs down how data in motion and data at rest are protected in the iPad environment and offers tips on security.
Apple does about everything differently. So it is not surprising that it takes a different approach to security than Windows. Gartner’s Neil MacDonald said that iPhone and iPad users can access everything they need to do without having “root” administrative rights. Tasks that can be performed as standard users include customizing the environment, downloading and installing applications and other tasks, he writes. He added that the App Store has successfully used whitelisting, which is the acceptance of approved applications rather than banning those that are disapproved.
TUVPN points out that the iPad supports three types of virtual private networks (VPNs), which, as the name implies, are ways of connecting across the IP networks in a manner that emulates private point-to-point networks. The post says that the device has options for the Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP), the point-to-point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) and Cisco IPSec (Internet Protocol Security). Downloads from the App Store, the post says, support Secure Socket Layer (SSL) VPNs from Juniper, Cisco and F5. Users also can create their own SSL VPNs.
Finally, HyTech Lawyer offers some layman's advice on iPad protection. It essentially is a recitation of good security steps for any device, such as setting a strong password, and making sure the device self-locks if it is on and not used for a predetermined amount of time.