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 Enterprise

The 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.

Mobile Sales and Pharma Mobile Apps for Oracle

Built to run on the AT&T WorkBench solution, AT&T has also announced two new mobile Web applications for Oracle CRM On Demand that are now available on iPhone.

AT&T MEAP Sales for Oracle CRM On Demand enables field sales teams to have access to their customer and sales information. AT&T MEAP Pharma, specifically designed for sales teams in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries, provides real-time and offline access to Oracle CRM On Demand for Life Sciences on the iPhone. It also provides additional functionality that facilitates physician detailing and drug sampling, according to AT&T.

Both of these AT&T MEAP Web applications allow sales representatives to receive and send data in real-time to access and update contacts, users, accounts, new opportunities and leads. Additional applications focused on productivity and collaboration will soon be added, says AT&T, to improve collaboration while being enterprise-sanctioned.

"This innovative solution from AT&T gives Oracle customers a turn-key option to take advantage of the unique iPhone user experience that is easily governed and administered by the enterprise," Anthony Lye, Oracle senior vice president of CRM, said in a statement. "Sales organizations and bio-pharma companies looking to improve sales effectiveness and customer care through mobility can quickly gain competitive advantage by leveraging this powerful combination of technologies and services."

Accessible through AT&T's smartphones, AT&T MEAP supports three primary Web applications: sales force automation, which provides sales organizations with a complete view across all facets of a customer relationship; field force automation, which provides field service workers with access to real-time customer, inventory and other job-related information; and IT support, which gives IT staff real-time, access to time sensitive, problem management information.

Businesses using AT&T MEAP can host their Web application on premise or in an AT&T data center, providing on-demand access to applications and reducing overall support and overhead costs. Professional services for AT&T MEAP deployment can be performed by AT&T, by a customer's IT staff or by systems integrators.


iPhone, mobile apps, AT&T, mobile device, mobile security