Potentially fanning the flames of the growing IT consumerization movement, Cisco has made its AnyConnect Security Mobility software available for iOS 4.1 through the Apple App Store, potentially addressing security concerns of enterprises that are increasingly allowing employees to use personal iPhones and iPads for corporate business.
The Cisco AnyConnect software, which also works with the iPod Touch, provides encrypted network connectivity from any Apple iOS 4 device for accessing business email, virtual desktop sessions, or most other iOS 4 applications, Cisco says on its website. The software uses Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) to provide TCP-based applications and latency-sensitive traffic (such as VoIP) an optimized communication path to corporate resources.
On top of some already IT-friendly features Apple has implemented, including the ability to remote wipe iPhones and simple intgration with with Microsoft Exchange email, the Cisco software lets IT administrators control access to corporate resources on a per-user or a per-group basis and the ability to revoke privileges for a lost or stolen device.
A network roaming feature gives iPhone users a persistent connection to a corporate VPN when roaming between 3G or Wi-Fi networks, the company adds. The application supports all of the authentication schemes in Cisco's ASA suite, including several flavors of RADIUS and LDAP, multifactor authentication and digital certificates.
In a video demonstration , Cisco describes using AnyConnect on the iPhone to automatically connect to any Cisco-compatible VPN head end, including its line of Adaptive Security Appliances (ASA), along with optional manual controls.
"The iPhone has rapidly become a device of choice for consumers around the world, and they are looking for ways to have this single device work for both their personal and business needs," said Shalabh Mohan, director of Cisco's Security Technology Business unit, in a statement, reinforcing the notion that IT consumerization is a growing phenomenon. "The consumer influence is driving the need for highly secure enterprise mobility solutions like AnyConnect and our new iPhone app."
The Cisco release coincided with Hewlett-Packard's introduction of a cloud-based device management service that it hopes telecom providers will offer as a managed service to mid-sized businesses.
More than 80 percent of Fortune 100 companies are deploying or piloting the iPhone, and more than half of Fortune 500 companies are testing the iPad tablet, Apple COO Tim Cook told Wall Street analysts during the company's earnings conference call last month.