As more businesses incorporate iPads into their networks, issues involving compatibility, compliancy, and functionality in a typical Windows computing environment will become more prevalent. Here's excerpts from a recent article in PCMag about having an iPad in your office:
E-mail and Office 365
For businesses that use their own on-site Exchange servers, the iPad can be integrated using Microsoft ActiveSync for push email and syncing contacts and calendars. Of course, as more businesses move to Web-based email services, including hosted Exchange as part of Office365, integrating the iPad into a corporate email system becomes even easier.
Accessing Company Data
iPad users will also want to access and edit documents, mostly Microsoft Office documents. QuickOffice Pro HD, iWork, and SmartOffice are all apps that can be used to open and edit Microsoft Office documents on the iPad. Microsoft Office for iOS, an actual iOS client designed by Microsoft, is rumored to become available sometime next year.
iPad users can also select from a vast array of VPN clients to access corporate resources. From Cisco AnyConnect to various free VPN Clients, iPad users have an array of choices for connecting to the company network. In addition, the iPad's built-in VPN client supports IPsec and SSL VPN.
The iPad can be decent for videoconferencing either with FaceTime or the myriad other videoconferencing solutions used in business such as GoToMeeting and Cisco WebEx-all with iPad client software available in iTunes.
Note-taking is also easy to do with apps. A tablet is the perfect form factor for grabbing and heading into a meeting to jot down notes. A couple decent note-taking apps are OneNote and Evernote.
As businesses continue to move many of their line-of-business apps to the cloud, the iPad becomes even more feasible as a business computing client. Cloud service giants such as Salesforce.com (for CRM), Intuit (for financials), and ADP (Payroll and Human Resources)-all offer mobile solutions for the iPad as do most of the top cloud service providers.
Where the iPad Falls Short for Business
The iPad has evolved into a serious business tool. However, there are still some ways in which it falls short. It's a tablet with relatively light processing capability. You will still need desktop workhorses (or at least robust virtual machines) to perform heavier computing tasks such as database creating and management (although FileMaker Pro offers Bento for lighter database needs for the iPad), CAD, media editing, or handling any large sets of scientific data.
Corporate compliance is another area that may be tricky to integrate into the iPad. Since the tablet is primarily a consumer device, there isn't much emphasis on adherence to compliance regulations such as HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley in its specs. IT has to ensure the data that iPad users access is compliant both in terms of where that data resides and how it's transmitted. Organizations witnessing an influx of iPads into the corporate network that also have to follow compliance regulations are advised to look into a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution to help keep iPads and other mobile devices in compliance.
Link to the full article:
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