The perception of the BlackBerry as the most secure and manageable mobile platform seems to be faltering. According to a new report, senior IT administrators now consider Apple’s iOS to be the most secure and manageable platform – despite the fact that RIM offers ten times the number of security and device management policies that Apple provides in iOS.
Department of Veterans Affairs is no stranger iOS devices or to developing custom apps to help deliver key services to veterans and their families. In fact, the VA’s CIO last year said that the agency needed to become “iPad friendly” in order to effectively support the agency’s physicians, nurse, and other medical staff and an iOS pilot program was launched earlier this year.
More recently, the VA has been looking for ways that mobile technology can help homeless veterans find food, shelter, and other critical resources. To achieve that goal and raise awareness of veteran homelessness across the country (one out of six homeless adults in America is a veteran), the VA has teamed up with JBJ Soul Foundation, the non-profit charity created by music legend Jon Bon Jovi to launch an iOS/Android app contest called Project REACH.
The USDA is working its way through an ambitious iPad deployment that may come to serve as a model for a range of government agencies within the U.S. and around the world. The challenge was to develop a simple, intuitive, and effective field survey and data collection system.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is a division of the USDA that is charged with surveying and reporting agricultural data across the country. NASS operates in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico. With a staff of around 3,000 enumerators NASS conducts thousands of survey each year about agriculture across the country. The service has been operating since the mid-1800s and, until the iPad, it conducted surveys and collected data in pretty much the same way that it had back in the 19th century – with paper forms filled out by hand and mailed to various field offices. Although various technology initiatives have been tried by NASS since the 1980s, none was a successful fit before the iPad.
We’ve seen the iPad used in a range of workplaces. Although some are surprising, like industrial farming and the Vatican, most are a bit more pedestrian. The U.S. Navy is planning to use iPads in a way that is both pedestrian and very high-end.
According to a recent government contract that is up for bid, the Navy plans to include iPads in a revamp of its Executive Dining Facility in the Pentagon. The dining room is often used by the Secretary of the Navy and regularly plays host to high-level Pentagon guests.
It’s getting almost painful to read reports about RIM. The ongoing hype about how great BlackBerry 10 will be mixed with the reports of layoffs, inventory sitting around warehouses, the company’s share price plummeting – it all reminds me of the time one of my high school friends broke her ankle in gym class and hobbled around for nearly half a day trying to convince herself that she’d only sprained it.
Among all that news, however, is a question – can organizations that need incredible security manage in a world without RIM and the manageability made possible by its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES)? Is iOS up to that challenge? Is Apple up to or interested in making a major play for the enterprise market?
TSA is the latest U.S. federal agency to make a significant investment in Apple technologies in what may be a move away from RIM’s BlackBerry and Windows PCs. The agency is set to start a pilot program that will run over the next three years and will involve heavy investment in Macs, iPhones, iPads, and even Apple TVs.
According to federal documents (PDF link), the security agency plans to spend $3 million on Apple products and has an amazingly wide range of uses for them in mind. The plans go well beyond the scope of Apple investments made by other U.S. government agencies like the EPA and FAA, which focus primarily on iPhones and/or iPads.
May is Mobile Management Month at Cult of Mac, where we will be profiling a different mobile management company every weekday. You can find all previous entries here and read our Mobile Management manifesto here.
Although Good does provide device and app management, its primary focus is securing business data. To that end, the company effectively segregates all business information and documents on a device from a user’s personal content. To accomplish this Good’s iOS app delivers the same features as Apple’s Mail, Calendar, and Contacts apps – a move that ensures business messages event data are always secure. Good also includes a secure web browser and secure on-device document and data storage. The secure data store is sandboxed and can restrict users from copying data to unapproved apps as well as prevent such apps from accessing business documents or files.Good also provides a government agency solution that has been certified to meet various government and military standards for secure access including two-factor authentication.
Good leverages these technologies through a new solution called Good Dynamics that allows other companies, including mobile management vendor Boxtone who we profiled earlier in this series, to take advantage of Good’s secure data store. See our Good Dynamics coverage for more details.
Thursby last week released ADmitMac PKI 4. The release is a specialized version of the company’s ADMit Mac software that focuses two factor authentication. The solution is largely aimed at government customers and regulated industries like healthcare where data security is paramount.
Thursby’s ADMitMac is an Active Directory integration solution that offers several features beyond the built-in Active Directory support that Apple provides in OS X. It offers Mac management capabilities, improved browsing of Windows network resources including Microsoft’s distribute file system, and a number of other administrative tools.
There’s been a lot of news stories this year about iPhone and iPad use by U.S. federal agencies. Most of those stories have been reports of agencies ditching BlackBerries for iPhones and/or iPads.
This week’s news from the FAA is different in that the FAA already has iPads in the hands of employees and the agency is planning to expand their user dramatically – to the point where employees will be offered a choice between an iPad and a laptop as their mobile computing device.
2012 hasn’t been shaping up to be a good year for RIM. The company has already lost some major enterprise customers, developers have publicly announced they’re shuttering BlackBerry support, and the new iPad sales beat the total number of BlackBerry PlayBook shipments three times over in one weekend.
The one bright moment, if you can call it that, came during the company’s recent quarterly financials call when RIM’s newly minted CEO Thorsten Heins told investors that his first action on the job was to seriously evaluate RIM’s business. After months of delusional pep talks, his very sober assessment was like a burst of lucid thinking. Unfortunately, the company’s executives seem to be covering that lucid moment with more of the delusional spin that’s become typical of RIM
The latest bout of RIM denying its situation involve comments by executives on the state of the BlackBerry in government.