Cisco Rolls Out New App to Improve Apple iOS Security

A new security app benefits from the Cisco-Apple partnership, bringing enhanced visibility and control for iOS mobile devices.

Cisco Security Connector IOS

Cisco rolled out on Dec. 14 its Cisco Security Connector app, which provides extended security capabilities for Apple iOS device users.

Cisco Security Connector benefits from integration with other Cisco technologies, including Umbrella and Clarity, to provide enhanced visibility and control over iOS devices, to help mitigate security risks. The app also benefits from Cisco’s partnership with Apple that began in 2016.

"Cisco engineers worked hand in glove with Apple to define the requirements and broad market needs that Cisco Security Connector was to address," Alfred Huger, vice president of engineering at Cisco Security, told eWEEK.

The Cisco-Apple partnership has yielded a number of innovations, with multiple features integrated into iOS 10 in September 2016 to help improve connectivity and app prioritization. In June 2017, Apple and Cisco extended their partnership into security, when the initial announcement about the intent to build and release the Security Connector app was made.

Security Connector isn't the first Cisco security app for iOS devices. The company previously released an OpenDNS app that Huger calls a virtual private network (VPN)-based solution. Cisco acquired OpenDNS in 2015 and has integrated the technology to become the core of its Umbrella security platform.

"The Security Connector service is always on, always connected," he said. "There is no need for a user to turn it on or do anything."

Cisco Security Connector was designed specifically for company-owned iOS devices that are being run in supervise mode, according to Huger. "Cisco Security Connector leverages Apple APIs directly and provides better security with a more elegant end-user experience," he said. "As many companies are providing iPhone and iPads to their employees for their job, we are able to give organizations the level of visibility and control into those devices that they require to reduce their risk."

Cisco is connecting with its existing Umbrella service at the back end for enhanced security. Umbrella is a cloud-based service with multiple security capabilities, including malware protection, file protection and DNS-layer encryption. Cisco Security Connector also connects with the Cisco Clarity service that provides insight into network traffic.

Security Connector is not mobile device management (MDM) technology. MDM provides device management and onboarding capabilities to grant a given device access to a set of network resources. At launch, Security Connector will work with Cisco's Meraki Systems Manager, which includes some MDM capabilities, Huger said.

"However, we are actively working on other MDMs to address market demand, and we expect to announce those in early 2018," he said.

Cisco Security Connector, which is now available in the Apple App Store, was developed specifically for iOS. Cisco does have mobile security technology for Android, with its AMP for endpoint product, according to Huger.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.