Cisco Launches Security App for Apple iOS


By: Michael Vizard

Cisco today announced the availability of the Cisco Security Connector application, a product jointly developed with Apple to provide IT security teams with visibility into and control over applications running on iOS devices.

Devices running iOS are generally considered to be secure. But most IT security teams don't have any insight into the applications that have been installed, says Al Huger, vice president of engineering for Cisco.

"We're providing more granular visibility," says Huger.

App Store Availability

Cisco Security Connector can be downloaded from the Apple Store. Once installed it can be integrated with either the Cisco Umbrella cloud security platform or the Cisco Clarity wireless networking platform.

Huger says this approach eliminates the need to have a separate console to manage Apple applications. IT security teams can not only now see what applications have been installed on an Apple device, they can also control access to them, says Huger.

Cisco and Apple have been working on multiple projects intended to provide a better networking experience in corporate environments for two years now. Previously, the two companies have made it possible to prioritize which applications receive wireless bandwidths when accessing a wireless network managed by a Cisco Wireless LAN Controller. In addition, iOS devices can now automatically discover the closest Cisco access point, and make use of voice-over-IP (VoIP) when attached to a campus network.

iOS Endpoints Drive Demand

Huger says that while Apple iOS devices are generally considered secure, many IT organizations still need to be able to demonstrate control over them to comply with various regulations. End users have made it clear that they prefer to access applications using either an Apple smartphone or tablet. But IT organizations in many cases have been reluctant to support those devices because they don't have tools to manage them. Huger says rather than having to acquire separate tools that puts the IT team in "swivel chair hell," it's now possible to treat Apple devices as just another endpoint to be managed via the same console used to manage other devices.

It's not clear to what degree usage of Apple devices is influencing selections of IT management and security frameworks for the enterprise. There's no doubt Apple devices are more prevalent than ever. But a lot of that usage has been minimally supervised by internal IT organizations. However, now that those devices are simply one more endpoint to be managed using an existing IT management framework, chances are high that level of oversight being applied to Apple devices in the enterprise is about to considerably increase.