StrongVPN reacted to the moving of VPN settings in iOS 7 from the home screen to the general settings page. This move seems to demote the status of VPN services to an unimportant setting. StrongVPN hopes that this is not an indication that Apple is discouraging VPN use, and that it may just be an indication of a negative feeling towards BYOD policies.
BYOD and Corporate Security
BYOD policies have been a subject of debate for some time for many reasons. On the security front, using personal devices to access office networks and sensitive files can be very dangerous. Sensitive corporate data and the network can be put at great risk of intrusion if unsecured personal devices are allowed in. When people use unsecured personal devices to access a variety of websites, to download apps indiscriminately, et cetera, they are likely to be infected with malware and viruses. Especially when they access the internet via public WiFi, they are in danger of being compromised. Once a personal device has been compromised, this gives intruders access to corporate data and network control once the device connects to the office.
Despite the dangers, many companies still hold to their BYOD policies. This is not a problem, says StrongVPN, as long as they are vigilant in checking personal devices used to connect to the office. Personal devices can also be secured by personal VPN software which is provided by many different VPN providers such as StrongVPN. BYOD has a lot of benefits for both workers and businesses, and security solutions abound. It still begs the question, however, whether Apple is attempting to discourage BYOD by hiding VPN settings deep within the iOS 7 menus.
iOS 7 VPN Settings
One of the changes to iOS settings that was troubling to StrongVPN is the transfer of VPN settings to all the way at the bottom of the general settings list. StrongVPN had hoped that although the VPN settings would no longer be on the main screen, that they would at least be prioritized on the main settings menu. Burying the VPN settings is to StrongVPN a sign that Apple is not encouraging its users to make use of the online VPN security feature.
Apple made no announcement on their decision to move the VPN settings, and this may indicate that they did not think the decision was an important one. StrongVPN emphasizes that it is on the contrary very important. Many users are not fully aware of the dangers of connecting to the internet without online security measures in place. Putting the VPN settings deep inside the device settings will discourage its use simply because it is not readily available or visible to the average user.
Remote connectivity and the use of personal devices at work is not the only consideration here, says StrongVPN. People need to be encouraged on a daily basis to take heed of online security warnings and to take advantage of the tools at their disposal to ensure better online protection.
On iOS 5, the VPN settings were listed third, conveniently under the main settings of the device. In iOS 6, they had been moved under general settings. But at least they were listed fifth on the screen. In iOS 7, the VPN settings are far down on the list of general settings and difficult to see unless the user is consciously looking for them. It appears close to the reset option for the device, an option rarely if ever used. This seems to indicate that Apple either thinks that VPNs will be used almost as rarely as device resets, or wants to give the impression that VPNs are one of those options that is provided but does not really come in handy on a regular basis. Again, StrongVPN stresses that VPN use is very handy and should be one of the main functions used on any device.
Despite the apparent decision to slowly move VPN connectivity out of iOS features, StrongVPN wants users to rest easy with the knowledge that alternative and fully compatible VPN services will remain available to them. VPN services have within the past few years become crucial to the online security of users everywhere. Accessing a VPN is as important as changing a password to keep it safe. StrongVPN wants users to be able to access VPN services easily to encourage everyone to use them for their safety.