How The Release Of iOS 8 Impacts The Mobile Enterprise

Apple made iOS 8 available for download Wednesday, giving iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users access to the new mobile operating system and its slew of new features.

This is good news for solution providers who see the release as an opportunity to help businesses with the new features.

One of the most highlighted features of iOS 8 is Handoff, a function that allows users to seamlessly move documents and items from one device to another. If Pages is being used to write an important report, or Numbers to look over or create a complex spreadsheet, users can now leave their Mac workstation and "handoff" a document they are looking over onto a different Apple device, such as an iPad.

[Related: 10 Cool New Features On iOS 8]

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With data moving from device to device, solution providers will need to know the security policies around that and the kinds of applications that can be built to take advantage of the feature.

"What Handoff creates is the opportunity to enhance both the security model and the application development model without data being taken at risk," said Ojas Rege, vice president of strategy at MobileIron, the leader in the enterprise mobility management space. "With Handoff, data might end up on devices that are not being managed. How do you manage that? What are the policies being set? Providing services to enable companies to both leverage Handoff as well as protect their data is a new opportunity."

HealthKit and HomeKit are two highlighted platforms that come with iOS 8. HealthKit charts and manages a user's health information, while HomeKit is a platform that is Apple's entry into the Internet of Things, allowing them to turn on and off home security systems and lights or lock and unlock their doors. These two new iOS 8 platforms are important to enterprise mobility management because they introduce the factor of privacy.

"This may be something that really pushes partners into a very new area of what they've done before around privacy," Rege said. "This is really critical to the enterprise, because you may have a corporate device, but on that device you have really key health information that is helping you manage your diabetes for example. That is information that is life critical. If you wipe that device, you may actually damage that person's health."

Rege has been working closely with his partners through the summer leading up to the launch of iOS 8, helping them understand the impact on the mobile enterprise.

He said because of the new privacy factor dealing with sensitive and critical information, company CIOs need partners to help them understand what the security implications are of the mixed ownership devices and they need someone to help them with privacy. The goal is to not access personal data while helping protect corporate data.

Next: The Impact Of Swift, Apple's New Programming Language

Along with the announcement of iOS 8, Apple also released a new programming platform called Swift.

This new programming language helps application developers to more easily and quickly build quality apps.

With Swift, Rege says developers will be able to build much more sophisticated enterprise applications than they ever could before, creating a huge opportunity for developers to learn the new language. A developer telling a customer they have Swift expertise is valuable as it is new language that not everyone has picked up on yet.

"My software team sees iOS 8 being good for app developers," said Stephen Monteros, vice president of business development and strategic initiatives at SIGMAnet, an Ontario, Calif.-based solution provider and Apple partner specializing in app development. "Swift and the new features in iOS 8, built around interconnectivity is good for developers. We view it as Apple clarifying their road map with this whole Internet of Things, and we're excited about that. iOS 8 is a good opportunity for app developers."

Another new feature with implications for the the mobile enterprise is Touch ID. This is the first time a biometric authentication mechanism has been introduced on such a broad scale. With the SDK for Touch ID being released to developers, MobileIron's Rege said it provides solution providers with an opportunity to work with businesses on their biometric authentication strategy.

"There is an opportunity here for partners to be seen as trusted advisors," Rege said. "Really what iOS 8 is letting you do is letting you provide more workflow oriented applications to the enterprise. What you're going to start finding is the real leading integrators and VARs in the mobile enterprise market are the ones that are seen as trusted advisors on security, privacy, application methodology and authentication. Those are four core skill sets that are going to be very important for the channel to develop."