Microsoft Exchange support has just brought Apple iPhones into the corporate network. But how will network administrators manage them?
Anyone who has ever used an Apple iPhone loves it. Besides just being cooler
than an iceberg, it's actually a great smart phone.
So, from the very beginning, iPhone users wanted, oh how they wanted, to be
able to use their iPhones in the enterprise.
I mean, a BlackBerry Pearl is pretty neat, but come on, which would you
rather have? Enough said. Now, thanks to a just-announced deal between
Microsoft and Apple, iPhones
will be able to use Exchange as an e-mail and groupware server
Exchange ActiveSync. And to think analysts used to say the
iPhone wouldn't be relevant to the enterprise.
Great news, right? Well, yes, it's wonderful news if you're an eager iPhone
user, or someone who wants his company to buy him an iPhone. But if I were a CIO
or a network administrator, I'd be locking my door and turning off my phone
In the case of the CIOs, that's because your CEO
will want you to switch the corporate standard handheld device and mobile phone
to being the iPhone by, oh, say, the close of business this week. Not for
everyone, mind you, just for all C-level executives ... and maybe the executive
vice presidents, well, OK, and the VPs as well ... oh, and did I mention my
You get the idea. You'll also get the "pleasure" of finding the
cash for this move. At $399 for the 8GB model and a two-year AT&T contract
that starts at $59.99 per month, I wish you lots of luck trying to talk the chief
financial officer into making the move. But, look at this way: He or she will
also have the CEO pounding on the door.
At least, the executive-level IT people will only have the problem of finding
the cash for this move. If you're a network administrator, you, my lucky
friend, will have to find ways to manage dozens or even hundreds of
iPhones on your corporate network.
Just think about it, just when you have a handle on managing iTunes' Bonjour
traffic on your intranet as users share music, you now must try
to handle Bonjour over mobile (read expensive) links. That's not too bad,
No, the real problem will be actually managing the darn things period. If
there are Active Directory Group Policy Objects for managing iPhone
functionality, I haven't seen them. And, I know darn well, there's no easy way
to get LDAP and an iPhone to work together.
Of course, with the just-released iPhone
SDK (software development kit),
some of this can be handled on the iPhone
side. Is there anyone willing to bet me that within the next month or two,
someone will be offering AD and LDAP client software for the iPhone?
That still leaves us with the problem of managing all those iPhones back in
the server room. This isn't going to be any fun at all.
Then just consider the security implications. I've already called the
iPhone a security hellhole
once, and I haven't seen any reason to change my
So, all those matters considered, here's what I want to know:
"When can I get my corporate Apple iPhone? Come on! I need one, I really
do! Believe me!"