IT will have a love-hate relationship with iOS 7, OS X Mavericks and iCloud

With updated OSes and iCloud, Apple will please some, annoy others

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iWork for iCloud - iWork for iCloud is Apple's entry into the cloud-based productivity world, where it will take on Google Docs/Apps, Office 365 and other similar services. Although Apple demoed iWork for iCloud on both a Mac and a PC, it didn't really address many practical issues, most likely because it's still a ways out from a public beta or primetime use. We don't know what security features will be included, how freely users will be able to share documents, whether there will be enterprise licensing or management options and how much it will cost. (I wouldn't be surprised if Apple offered the service for free or on a freemium basis.) The concerns here are the same as for consumer-oriented cloud storage options like Dropbox and Google Drive. As users rely on cloud services more, data tends to sprawl outside of an organization with no oversight or auditing. That presents security issues and other challenges. Data becomes siloed in ways that many workers can't access it and there's no easy way to manage version control and ensure that everyone is using the same copy of a given set of files or documents.

Moving past iCloud, there are also a few areas of concern involving iOS 7 and Mavericks.

AirDrop in iOS

AirPlay Displays -- AirPlay displays is a particularly interesting feature. As more schools and offices integrate Apple TVs as solutions in conference rooms and classrooms, AirPlay is becoming a common business capability. That Apple is now extending that ability from simply mirroring a Mac's screen to acting as a fully capable display is great for office collaboration, teaching/training or even just to add an extra display for convenience in a conference room. The problem is that locating and connecting to an Apple TV largely relies on Apple's Bonjour auto-discovery, which generates excess traffic and is really designed to locate devices on a single subnet like a home network. In an enterprise network, these issues can make it difficult to use and ensure access to the appropriate devices. Connecting to the wrong device by accident can lead to the exposure of sensitive data to people who shouldn't see it. Thankfully, some enterprise vendors, including Aerohive, Aruba and Cisco, are beginning to build Bonjour traffic management into their networking products. That mitigates, though doesn't entirely resolve, these issues. Apple has also taken some steps to enterprise-ify Apple TV security, although they're still pretty minimal.

Interactive Lock Screens -- We've all been waiting to see whether Apple would make the iOS lock screen more functional. iOS 7 does that to some extent by allowing access to the revamped Notification Center and the new Control Center. The problem is that both of these provide access to areas of the OS that could contain sensitive data and allow some functionality without unlocking a device. That means a lost or stolen device can become a security concern -- even if it's locked remotely or by the user. A similar issue exists with the OS X Maverick's lock/login screen, because it can display notifications and allow users to interact with them without unlocking a Mac.

Automatic App Updates -- Yes, automatic updates are in both parts of the love-hate list. One of the advantages, particularly on desktop computers, to disallowing automatic updates is that it gives the IT department a chance to download and test software and patches before rolling them out to everyone. The process, which until now Apple has generally endorsed as part of Mac management in business and education, ensures that IT verifies updates as issue-free. A testing or cooling-off period also allows IT to determine whether outside users are having issues by checking support forums, mailing lists, and social networks like LinkedIn and Spiceworks. The result is that automatic app updates represent a bit of mixed bag.

Ryan Faas is a freelance writer and technology consultant specializing in Mac and multiplatform network issues. He has been a Computerworld columnist since 2003 and is a frequent contributor to Faas is also the author of iPhone for Work (Apress, 2009). You can find out more about him at and follow him on Twitter (@ryanfaas).

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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