The iPhone and Other Illegal Immigrants to the Enterprise

Opinion: IT can't stop the iPhone from coming in? What a depressing thought!

Youve heard it for years. Its against the rules for them to come in, and its against the rules for them to perform work. But the demand is so high theres just no stopping them.

Im writing, obviously, about those newfangled electronics devices that IT wont (officially) allow onto the corporate network. The new poster child for this problem is the Apple iPhone.

As my colleague David Morgenstern points out, users are going to insist on bringing their iPhones into the corporate network and using them for business. Its not a matter to David of whether this is a good or bad thing, its just inevitable. Hes right, although the degree of the problem is still open to question.

Coming at it from a security standpoint, Im appalled: How could anyone allow these strange, unmanaged things onto their network? Theres point one about it all in my last sentence: If you have a management system of any kind to deal with security, its unlikely to be able to manage an iPhone.

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The first requirement is going to be a VPN client, and it seems the iPhone is partly covered there, with the other part on the way. I know at ZD Id be required to have a Cisco VPN client.

The main application people will want and nag IT for is e-mail, and this will be the biggest headache. Were reporting that Exchange will not be directly supported on the iPhone.

Ive seen some disagreement, such as in the user TalkBacks to Davids column, with people saying that the iPhone will in fact support Exchange, but Im suspicious. My guess is that any support it has for Exchange Server is similar to that of Mac OS Xs Mail app, which only supports Exchange Server through IMAP.

This is a problematic configuration for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that its not the default for Exchange Server. Also, because IMAP is such a non-presence in the real world, there are a number of limitations on security for it. Youll find that most Windows anti-virus clients that scan your e-mail if it comes in over POP3 or MAPI dont support IMAP. If youre an IT administrator, do you want to open up that to your users? This isnt the only problem; For example, POP and IMAP clients do not adhere to the storage limitation rules set on mailbox.

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