Apple’s prescence has expanded from being the brand behind a few Macs in the creative department; it is now a key mobile and productivity provider across every top enterprise. But even Apple’s platforms face security challenges as people work remotely. I caught up with Truce Software CEO Joe Boyle to discuss Apple in the workplace and his company’s approach to managing the mobile enterprise.
One of the biggest surprises of WWDC 2021 was Apple’s introduction of iCloud+, an upgraded version of its existing service available at no additional charge that provides secure emailing and VPN-style security for users.
iCloud just became a useful business tool
The introduction of these features will transform iCloud into a very useful remote business tool, though it will be interesting to see whether all these features will be available to enterprise folks making use of Managed Apple IDs for their business tools. For the present let's assume they will, given the deep value they promise to those in that sector.
Apple’s WWDC announcements included plenty for enterprise professionals. One area that deserves particular attention relates to the variety of privacy improvements the copany is making, because they offer significant benefits for the security conscious.
Putting you in control of your data
The main thrust of Apple’s recent work on privacy is information. The argument is that everyone should know about data collection, what it means, and which apps collect what information — and have at least some understanding of how that data is used.
Apple’s software engineering chief Craig Federighi recently told us that Macs aren’t yet as secure as iOS devices, but does this mean Mac users need to worry?
What Federighi said
Apple’s software lead was appearing as part of the interminable Epic v Apple trial (which today involves Apple CEO Tim Cook taking the stand). Federighi was arguing that by maintaining a highly controlled third-party app environment on iOS, Apple has been able to build an extremely secure platform.
The research looks at 167 counterfeit apps used to scam iOS and Android users. Those that impact Apple’s mobile OS particularly stood out, as they show the increasing sophistication of malware authors.
Apple security with zero trust
Security remains of critical concern to the many enterprises deploying Apple equipment during the time of COVID-19, and as the mobile device management (MDM) services industry becomes more competitive, many providers are attempting to bolster services with security protection.
The XcodeGhost malware attack that allegedly affected 128 million iOS users is an excellent illustration of the kind of sophisticated attack all users should get ready to defend against as platforms become inherently more secure.
Designer label malware
XcodeGhost was an intelligent exploit that presented itself as a malware-infested copy of Xcode made available via websites targeting Chinese developers. Developers in the region downloaded it because it was easier to get than the real code because local networks wereunreliable.
Apple will inevitably begin enforcing the privacy requirements it has put in place across its ecosystem, meaning developers who attempt to avoid or dissemble their way around these protections should expect action, including removal from the App Store.
What Apple is doing
Everyone recognizes how seriously Apple takes privacy. Statement by statement and all through iterative software and product releases, the company is making it crystal clear that it believes privacy is essential to achieve the potential of digital transformation.
Enterprises should install Apple’s latest macOS Big Sur 11.3 update to secure their Macs. I spoke with Jamf Mac security expert Jaron Bradley, who explained why.
Install macOS 11.3 immediately
Enterprise users running fleets of Macs should get their IT support teams to approve the installation of Apple’s macOS Big Sur 11.3 update as swiftly as possible; the update should protect Macs against a serious software vulnerability that places data at risk.
As first spotted by Cedric Owens (and subsequently heavily researched by Jamf), the malware — a new version of a known Shlayer vulnerability — spreads in the following ways:
The Apple-focused enterprise services market continues to evolve. Case in point: Apple-only value-added-reseller Appogee is now offering a fully-managed iOS hardware deployment thanks to an arrangement with TRUCE Software.
A one-stop enterprise mobile shop
At its simplest, this means enterprises choosing to deploy iOS devices across their business can approach Appogee to purchase, deploy, and create contextually-aware management tools for these new fleets. The system integrates tools from both TRUCE and Jamf and means businesses can accelerate their mobile strategy, and do so while ensuring their own policies can be enforced on a device and user basis.