AT&T WorkBench Brings Mobile Security to iPhone
At&T today took a major step forward in resolving IT issues pertaining to the iPhone in the enterprise with the introduction of a native application offering authentication and encryption to allow businesses to more securely deploy and manage Web applications. The new offering, AT&T WorkBench, builds on the AT&T Mobile Enterprise Applications Platform (AT&T MEAP) by providing features that will address some formerly lacking security measures related to use of the iPhone in the enterprise. While the iPhone faithful have been clamoring to use the iconic device in the workplace more and more over the past year, mobile IT staff have been reluctant to embrace it.
Key features of WorkBench show a concerted effort to resolve that. WorkBench allows for role-based deployment of Web applications. It also equips mobile IT with stronger controls for policy management, mobile VPN, over-the-air updates and remote data lock/wipe. Additionally, it provides certificate-based authentication using SCEP (Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol), which works with iPhone's over-the-air enrollment and configuration process. AT&T WorkBench also lets users run multiple enterprise Web applications simultaneously and toggle between active Web applications. Another benefit is that it enables employees to work with their data and applications offline and automatically update when they reconnect to the network.
"AT&T WorkBench is a new solution for iPhone, which enables an organization to 'get down to business,'" Ron Spears, CEO of AT&T Business Solutions, said in a statement. "We're seeing increased interest and demand for iPhone applications from our business customers across industries and applications. In addition, more customers are requesting to use their personal iPhones in the workplace. With AT&T WorkBench, we're able to bring an organization's key enterprise applications, such as ERP or CRM software, to iPhone users with advanced control and security features that corporate IT requires -- including authentication and encryption -- to enable more secure collaboration and productivity for businesses."
Mobile Management for iPhone in the EnterpriseThe news comes at a time when Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone is increasingly being used for business, narrowing the gap with rival Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) and its BlackBerrys, which have long held the No. 1 spot as the preferred mobile device for the enterprise. RIM has been aggressively courting the consumer market over the past 12 months in a strategy aimed at expanding its market share beyond the cubicle while Apple's iPhone OS updates have incrementally improved upon security and deployment issues to make the iPhone more enterprise IT friendly. "The fact AT&T WorkBench helps distribute and manage Web applications for the iPhone will fuel its growth in the enterprise market," Stephen Drake, program vice president for mobility and telecom research at IDC, said in a statement. "Such a solution enhances key security and control measures, without sacrificing any of the strong user experiences." Additional benefits of AT&T WorkBench include the ability to deploy and administer Web applications and collaboration tools on the iPhone based on an employee's role and job requirements.
Companies can also use AT&T MEAP's hosted infrastructure to create a secure and private channel for deploying their own corporate mobile Web applications with bi-directional, push messaging, according to AT&T. AT&T WorkBench was developed through a partnership with mobile management firm Antenna Software and is available as a mobile download from the Apple App Store.