Apple Use Rising in Enterprise

Sue Marquette Poremba

When I first joined the workforce, I had a job in an advertising company and I simultaneously learned computer skills on an Apple computer and on a Windows/DOS computer. There was a definite dividing line between the two: Mac was for design and visuals; Windows was for everything else.


Oh, how times have changed!


Apple devices, traditionally marketed to the consumers, are increasing in the business world. The Enterprise Desktop Alliance has found that corporations are adopting Macs and other Apple devices as OS platforms.


With the increase in Apple in the office, there is a coordinating increase in security concerns with the devices used. As my colleague Kara Reeder reported last month, Mac users are often oblivious when it comes to threats and thus have a false sense of security. This is compounded by Apple quietly developing patches.


Edy Almer of Safend spoke with me today about the security concerns of Apple devices in enterprise use. A top security concern, he said, is synching information between devices, particularly with iTunes:


The problem is there is no internal encryption on any of the Apple devices. On your iPhone, for example, you may have your whole library of data -- personal data, customer data, financial data.


To combat this problem, Safend is using content-aware application control. If iTunes tries to open a sensitive file during synchronization, controls won't let it access the file or will warn the user about using unencrypted sensitve data in any way.


McAfee also announced security tools specifically for Macs.


Recognizing security issues that involve Apple devices is vital as they become an important business tool. As Almer told me:


End users tend to think Apples are perfect. Luckily IT managers tend to know better.

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Jul 26, 2010 9:09 AM Michael Michael  says:

As an IT admin that uses Macs, I for one am happy that Apple is finally being taken seriously.

As far as Mac users being "oblivious when it comes to threats", the reality is there have been no "outbreaks" with Macs since OS X's release unlike it's Windows counterpart. "In the wild" viruses simply don't exist for OS X. If OS X was so easy to hack there should at least be one since hackers have had about 10 years to do so. From an enterprise perspective Macs are much easier to secure as an admin, via an Open Directory domain, has the ability to lock down all OD bound Macs to the level that only applications that have been explicitly allowed can be run by the users including prohibiting USB applications and applications in DMG files. This single ability eliminates end the users ability to install (at the users security level) any applications that may have trojans in them. So no enterprise ever has an excuse (outside of personal negligence) that an unwanted application, including a virus, runs on any OD bound Mac.

The iPhoto "Trojan" (noted in the link in the article) is also a poor example since no Mac user ever needs to download iPhoto as it comes with EVERY Mac. Even a moron has no need to download it unless they are completely unaware that the application already exists on the Mac.

The data is also outdated as on device encryption has existed on iPhones since 3Gs. Now the iPhone 4 and iPad support ODE. Considering malwares' inability to penetrate all but the most retarded Mac users OS X security, iTunes to device encryption is hardly an issue. That's also besides the question of, "What "...sensitive file..." is iTunes going to actually OPEN?" You're not going to be opening doc files, or database files, etc. in iTunes.

Jul 27, 2010 12:45 PM Huddie Huddie  says: in response to Michael


Thanks for this post. Excelent information. I, as a IT Manager am looking for more information on mac's in the enterprise.

Could anyone point me to some resources on this?




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