Deploying iPads in the Enterprise: Your Questions Answered

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Webinars are a great way to deliver training on new and evolving topics. The presenter can deliver content naturally and fluidly by taking advantage of dimensions that are just not found in printed form. Don't get me wrong; I'm a big fan of the printed word. Otherwise, you'd likely consider me a bit hypocritical since I'm having this whole discussion through a blog entry. All I'm saying is that for some topics, being able to rely on audio and video is a far more powerful choice.

Attendees don't have to travel for webinar training and usually the content is delivered in small, easy to digest chunks. As a presenter I love webinars because they allow me to interact with my audience dynamically. They can ask questions and provide comments all in real time, allowing me to respond right then and there. From my perspective, this interaction is the secret ingredient to turning a normal webinar into a super-powered one!

Unfortunately, because webinars are usually short, there are more questions than there is time to answer them. This is exactly what happened during my recent TrainSignal “iPads in the Enterprise – Sneak Peek & Super Tips!” webinar. I've had a hard time sleeping at night knowing that some IT admins out there took the time to attend my webinar, throw out some good questions, and I left them hanging! I intend to remedy this situation right here and right now by turning this blog entry into an extended Q&A for that webinar. Let's get to it!

Are there any network monitoring apps?

Absolutely! In fact, there are so many great IT related apps for the iPad I'll be doing a webinar just on them next week. In the meantime, let me turn you on to IT Tools. These are a couple of my favorite network management apps for the iPad.

IT Tools powers up a bunch of the indispensable TCP/IP troubleshooting tools that network admins can't do without. The staples are there, including Ping, Traceroute and DNS Lookup, along with other goodies like Whois, Routing and Arp Tables, and Interface Statistics. Don't think this is just lightweight stuff either; advanced features, including full IPv6 and Reverse DNS support, is baked in.

How do you connect the iPad to the enterprise LAN from outside (i.e. VPN?)

I have great news! You don't even need an app for VPN support on the iPad. iOS 6 supports many VPN functions natively. Open up your Settings App, go to the General category, and open up the VPN. Here you can add a new VPN configuration or manage existing ones. L2TP, PPTP, and IPSEC are all supported. Here's a tip: Just because the IPsec configuration references Cisco, don't let that deter you if your enterprise VPN endpoint is from another manufacturer. Enter your settings, and you'll most likely be good to go. A prime example – just today I used this to create a VPN connection into a Watchguard XTM device.

If you'll be using VPNs regularly, get the iPhone Configuration Utility or Apple Configurator, which are both free utilities from Apple. Either of these will let you create a VPN configuration profile that your users can open easily setting up their VPNs for them. You can make changes to the profile while sitting at your desk and then quickly rollout to boatloads of users anywhere. Both of these are such great tools that they each get a complete lesson in our iPads in the Enterprise course. Oh yeah, did I mention these are FREE utilities?

Can you wipe an iPad that isn't connected to the LAN?

Without a doubt, yes, you can remotely wipe an iPad that isn't connected to the local network. Once you've sent a wipe command it queues up ready to strike. As soon as the iPad connects to the Internet it will receive the command and execute. The exact mechanics of how the command is received vary depending on the solution you used to send it. The important thing is that even if your corporate network is in Chicago, but the iPad is at coffee shop in Moscow, you can reach out and make your data disappear. Here, there or anywhere, you still have control!

How can I access Windows apps from the iPad?

One of the best solutions out there right now is from Desktone. Desktone offers fully virtualized Windows 7 or Windows 8 desktops as a service through the Cloud. As an IT Admin you can log on to a web portal and spin up a new desktop in minutes. You'll have full administrative control so feel free to install any application or make any necessary changes. These desktops can even be tied into your Active Directory allowing you to leverage Group Policy, centralized software deployment, and other enterprise systems.

Users access the virtualized Windows desktop from their iPad using any client supporting RDP or PCoIP such as PocketCloud or VMWare View. The great news is that users can access the same desktop and applications from any iPad. In fact, use practically any device, anywhere including thin clients, PCs,  Macs,  iPads,  Androids,  Kindle Fires and Google Chromebooks to name a few.

Well, I feel better knowing that these outstanding questions have finally been answered. If any of these were your question, I want to personally thank you! If not, I hope the questions and their answers have provided you food for thought that you can use at your organization. I look forward to seeing everyone at my next TrainSignal webinar! Right now I'm off to get that good night's sleep…

Do you want to learn more about iPads in the Enterprise? Sign up for our free upcoming webinar, "iPad Tools for the IT Professional," and check out our iPads in the Enterprise training. You can also view our last iPads in the Enterprise webinar on demand!

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John O'Neill Sr.

John O'Neill Sr. has been in the IT industry for 20+ years and has enjoyed the opportunity to work as a consultant, architect, executive, speaker, and author. He's been involved in multi-national networking, messaging, and communications projects as well as finding solutions for small mom-and-pop shops, allowing them to use technology to increase business opportunity and decrease operational complexity.


John has authored material for both Thomson-Reuters' Aspatore Books and Exec Blueprints publications. He regularly contributes technology articles to the online community in addition to developing exciting training courses for Pluralsight. As a recognized technology expert, John often speaks at IT events around the nation. When he’s not presenting at a conference, John can often be found leading informative webinars. He is proud to be NEOSA’s CIO of the Year Award recipient in 2012.