Sunday, July 08, 2012

Book Review: iOS 5 in the Enterprise

If you’ve ever heard how cool it was to remotely manage a pride of iOS devices (would they be a pride since they are running the iOS equivalent of Lion?) iOS 5 in the Enterprise is for you.
The book starts off with reviewing multiple device configuration via iTunes directly and along with the iPhone Configuration Utility (iPCU) and all the really cool ways you can limit and lock down features. Want to remove the ability to install apps from an iPhone? There’s an app for that. Well not an app, but a setting in iPCU. Moving up from iPCU is Mobile Device Management and application servers and then finally applying these configurations via wireless and Over The Air (OTA).
The book covers configuration primarily for readers using iOS 5 and MacOS Server 10.7, but also will be useful for users of 10.6, iOS 4 and third party products such as Jamf’s Casper suite. It is not really a hands-on how to guide despite the title. In the introduction the author clearly states “If you’re looking for a cookbook of how-tos, I will tell you now, this is not the book for you.” Instead, the book gives a broad overview and identifies the pain points and tips you’ll need to pursue things yourself. Included in each chapter are links to Apple and third party guides about how to create these detailed configurations on your own and what to watch out for, identified in the side bars as “Big Scary Warning”
After reading this book, I wasn’t confident I could go out and do this myself, but I was confident in pursuing the subject more. The book is more of a coach on the sidelines saying “you can do this,” “you know this” (It’s a Unix system). The author’s humorous and laid back approach to technology really empowes the reader and doesn’t suffer from the dry and stale approach most technical books tend to suffer from.
Until I read this, Mobile Device Management of iOS devices seemed like a big theoretical construct I’d have no interest in. I’m not in an Enterprise after all. Now, besides the ultimate cool factor of these remote configurations (and the fact that Lion server is so inexpensive) I can see use cases within a family or a small business with just a few iOS devices. Enterprise is too narrow of a focus and I’d like to be able to instantly configure and remotely manage the iOS devices in my household or organization. If you are responsible for more than a few iPhones, iPod Touch and iPads in your family or business, this book is a great way of determining if you should be managing these devices via a central interface.
Pros: Great overview of centrally managing iOS devices, easy to read and understand
Cons: Title confusion – the book is neither hands on nor restricted merely to the “enterprise.” Home Office, Small Office and residential readers who have a few devices in their home will find great value in this book.
Five out of Five Dogcows