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GCN : November 2013
[BrieFing] 10 GCN NOVEMBER 2013 • GCN.COM Apple recently released the latest ver- sion of iOS 7 amid the usual consumer- focused ballyhoo. We took it for a quick spin to see if its improvements might make Apple's mobile devices more use- ful for government enterprises. Most of the improvements people will likely notice off the bat are cos- metic, though there are a few deeper additions, too. On the cosmetic side, many of the apps that were designed to be cutesy, like a calendar looking like something that could hang on the wall, have been replaced with a streamlined, modern look. People these days know what the basic functions of their phones do, so de- sign holdovers from earlier versions that helped to actually explain what they were have been eliminated. The biggest functional improve- ment is that iOS devices can now support true multitasking, an ad- vantage that Samsung and others have held over Apple for some time. With iOS 7, you can now fully run apps in the background without rst having to open them. A feature Apple is really pushing is the new Control Center, where you can go to make changes to your phone's settings. No longer will you need to dig down into menus to do basic stuff. Simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen and everything is right there. For example, there is a button for airplane mode, sliders for volume and brightness and you can even set your device to temporarily act like a ashlight. You can also dis- able your wireless from this screen, or go into Do Not Disturb mode. Access to the camera can be found here too, so there is no longer a need to keep the camera app but- ton on your main screen. In general, this is the way many Android devices have handled a control center-like area for a long time. Apple's seems a bit more elegant, if a little late to the party. Those features should boost the experience for any user. At the enter- prise level, there are three improve- ments that could alleviate some of the concerns about using iOS devices in government. WORK/PERSONAL SEPARATION You can now protect data by control- ling which apps and accounts can be used to open documents and attach- ments. This gives managers the per- mission to designate work apps, and lets users keep them separate from their personal ones. VPN CONNECTION All of the managed apps can be con- gured to automatically connect with a VPN as they are launched. This can pro- tect both the agency and the individual user, as it would keep personal data from accidentally being sent over the government network and keep agency les separate as well. As part of this, iOS 7 will allow users to sign in once to their network. All of the managed apps will know that they are logged in and have permission to work, which will save users from having to reenter their passwords multiple times. AUTOMATIC ENCRYPTION And in a move that can't be over- stated, all third-party apps now have data protection enabled automatically, just as the native apps do, so informa- tion stored in apps that come from the App Store is encrypted as well. Anyone without the password would have to crack the encryption before any data could be viewed. If your agency admins have told you that you can't use an iPhone or iPad for your work, they probably had some legitimate concerns dealing with the separation of personal and government data on the consumer- friendly devices. Or they might have been worried that there was no good way to tie all the apps into the agency VPN, or even the fact that not all data on the phone was encrypted. The new iOS 7 xes those problems. Although things like the weather app and even the new control center will probably get all of the limelight, the new back end makes iOS devices much more government friendly. If nothing else, it's worth a second look. And in terms of the new iOS 7, there's no reason not to upgrade. • 3 reasons iOS 7 could be suitable for government BY JOHN BREEDEN II