MobileIron offers mobile admin tablet app and greater BYOD controls

MobileIron Insight on iPad

MobileIron has updated its platform with a raft of enhancements including a dedicated mobile app for IT administrators, better support for Samsung’s Knox and more granular permissions to help manage data on employee-owned devices.

Available now, MobileIron’s summer release for 2014 comprises a number of updates aimed at giving corporate IT departments greater agility in responding to changing needs. In fact, MobileIron vice president of Strategy Ojas Rege described it as being like “Batman’s utility belt for mobile IT”.

“It is a whole set of tools and techniques that are really focused on giving IT the ability to move more quickly and to do their job better,” he said.

Chief among these is MobileIron Insight, an app for iPad and Android tablets that enables IT managers to carry out the most common administrative tasks using a mobile device, rather than having to sit in front of a desk-bound computer.

MobileIron Insight provides a dashboard giving the IT manager an overview of their mobile estate, allowing them to drill down to specific devices when troubleshooting. It provides a view of devices by platform, mobile network and compliance status, and enables the IT manager to assign policies and take basic administrative actions.

The app is available to download now from the Apple App Store and Google Play, and MobileIron will add to the tool’s capabilities in future, Rege said.

Meanwhile, the new release implements a new feature called Spaces, which is intended to offer greater flexibility for administrators to apply policies governing permissions, particularly when some devices may be employee owned as part of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend.

“Spaces is a new structure within our core MobileIron product that creates privacy and delegation boundaries for the administrator,” Rege said.

To explain, Rege cited the example of a firm that may have its mobile devices grouped and managed by department. However, some devices across all departments will be BYOD, and in that case there will be restrictions on what policies the IT department can apply to those devices because of privacy issues.

By defining a BYOD “space” and adding all the relevant devices to this, the IT department can overlay those policies over any existing ones applied to groups of devices, he said.

“I can rank these spaces, so if BYOD has the top rank, it doesn’t matter what other space that device is in, that BYOD permission set will trump the other permissions,” he explained.

Other improvements include AppConnect support for Samsung’s Knox 2.0, which means that MobileIron’s container technology for applications and data can now take advantage of the extra security capabilities that Samsung has added.

Policy support for Windows Phone 8.1 has also expanded, to include some unique features of Microsoft’s platform, Rege said.

“We are now supporting features like true application whitelisting and blacklisting, where you can prevent blacklisted applications from executing on a corporate device. From an enterprise perspective, Phone 8.1 is a very legitimate platform, especially as a BlackBerry replacement,” he said.

Finally, MobileIron’s Sentry security gateway now has the ability to route traffic based on the application users are running at any particular moment.

This enables data to be routed via a content-filtering and inspection system in order to catch any sensitive information that users may be trying to save to Dropbox or OneDrive, Rege explained.

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