Will iWork Qualify for Enterprise Mobile Solutions?
September 25, 2013
By Susan J. Campbell
, TMCnet Contributing Editor
Employees don’t generally look to mobile solutions because they don’t like working in an office environment -- more often than not, the nature of their position takes them on the road and into the field where they meet directly with clients. In the process, they can be more productive if they have direct access to the corporate network and other applications needed to gather information and data. This often demands the use of enterprise mobile solutions.
One solution that is getting much attention in the market is Apple’s (News - Alert) free iWork suite. This solution includes Pages, Numbers and Keynote and is offered for free with any new iOS device, including the recently announced iPhone (News - Alert) 5s and 5c. This move is a strategic one for Apple as it extends the capabilities of the mobile user. According to Wired, it also narrows the chasm between business and consumer BYOD usage.
The key to optimizing enterprise mobile solutions, however, is to ensure those tools provided to the mobile workforce are not only enabling productivity, but also security. For those looking to do both, the iWork solution may not be the best solution. While it offers promise to the typical user, the enterprise user may be at risk due to a lack of security and control mechanisms. Documents opened in the solution fall outside of any IT-managed systems and therefore are at risk of easy compromise if the device is lost or stolen.
Wired explored the specific limitations that exist within iWork when it comes to the enterprise mobile user and their quest for productivity. First, the app doesn’t provide any direct connectivity to source repositories. As a result, the user has to e-mail the document to his or her inbox to open it in a third party app or browser before it can be opened in iWork. The solution actually represents a collection of siloed apps for documents and no centralized file system or file manager exists.
Security and traceability are clearly lacking in iWork, which makes it a risky platform for any enterprise user. Plus, storing content in the iCloud for synchronization with iWork apps won’t meet enterprise security requirements. The iWork does not fall into the category of enterprise mobile solutions, but instead represents an easy way for the standard consumer to access documents when he or she lacks access to any other app to do so. Said documents would also have to be of a very non-private matter as they are vulnerable at all stages.
Given Apple’s release of the iOS 7 for all devices, there are a number of organizations asking their users to refrain from making the update until they protect themselves from the vulnerabilities in the iWork app. In fact, a number of users are being asked by their IT managers to avoid the upgrade at all until an organization’s network has been updated to provide the necessary security. Until then, iOS 7 won’t contribute to increased productivity, but maybe just unhappy users unable to upgrade a device.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey