Can Good Technology Make the iPhone Enterprise Ready?

Will the iPhone community accept Good as a real enterprise option?

Since the first release of the iPhone in June 2007, an ongoing debate has raged over the smartphone’s enterprise worthiness. Some will argue that the phone was strictly a consumer device, lacking key features to make it enterprise-ready. Others lauded it as the ideal tool for the mobile worker, providing phone, real functional web browsing, and email fit for the higher executives due to its price tag…. So, who is right?

As the leading provider of Microsoft Exchange hosting, Intermedia has a unique marketplace perspective where we can see what devices thousands of businesses use to provide wireless email and messaging to their users. While initially, customer buzz around the iPhone was extremely high, actual usage was very minimal. As we expected, having only POP/IMAP connectivity doesn’t cut it; business users want true “push”, always-on email. Because this was not available in the iPhone, they stuck with their BlackBerry smartphones and Treos.

Next came the iPhone 2.0. The second generation made huge leaps over its predecessor in enterprise functionality. This, of course, was driven by Apple licensing Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync technology, which finally provided users with the “push” email synchronization capabilities with their Exchange servers they so desperately desired. ActiveSync also allowed wireless synchronization of calendars and contacts with the iPhone, and also provided some security measures such as being able to remotely “lock” and “wipe” the device by a company administrator if it is lost or stolen.

ActiveSync brings the iPhone closer to the business market, but there is still a gap. We believe one of the critical factors in RIM’s success in the business market with BlackBerry smartphones is the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES). The BES facilities centralized IT management of BlackBerry devices within an organization, including over-the-air provisioning, profile and policy management, and of course security. While many of these items are now configurable on the iPhone, they must be done on a device-by-device basis, which is inefficient and error-prone. Not to mention it creates a nightmare for an IT Department without having a centralized management interface such as our HostPilot control panel.

Good Technology may solve this problem for the iPhone. Visto, which recently acquired the Good platform from Motorola, recently announced that it will begin supporting the iPhone. The Good platform brings key enterprise features to the iPhone:

  • Over-the-air provisioning of corporate email access
  • Configuration and over-the-air distribution of email, WiFi and VPN settings
  • Managing and enforcing device password policies
  • Enhanced security by restricting corporate email access to only one device
  • Remote wipe of device, not just email and PIM data, if it is lost or stolen

“While the iPhone is a popular device for consumers, IT departments have been reluctant to embrace it because of two key issues–security and management,” said Brian A. Bogosian, chairman, CEO and president of Good Technology. “We’re solving that problem by adding iPhone support to our Good for Enterprise 6.0 offering. With Good Mobile Control for iPhone, we’re providing the enterprise with a cost effective way to secure, control and manage a broad range of devices–including the iPhone; thereby, providing greater choice and flexibility.”

As a long-time partner of Good, Intermedia has one of the largest Good server deployments in the world. We support our customers using the Good platform to connect almost all types of smartphones running Palm, Windows Mobile, and many other devices to our hosted Exchange and messaging Services.

I think that Good has potentially filled the technical gap for the iPhone to start gaining market share in the corporate world. Now we will just have to wait and see if the touch screen keyboard is too much for some executives.

About The Intermedia Team

Intermedia's Office in the Cloud™ delivers essential IT services for SMBs and the partners who serve them — including hosted Exchange, Hosted PBX, SecuriSync file sync and share, security, mobility and more.