24 January, 2012

Where Oh Where Can My iPhone Be?

{This post has been updated with new items in September 2012}

I have been noting with interest the volume of users with iPhones and iPad devices, and sadly I also get the reports of lost or stolen iPhones and iPads.  For those of you who have suffered such a loss, I feel your pain.

The first level of pain is based on the answer to the question:  Was your device configured to the CWRU Mobile Configuration Standard?  If the answer is yes, you will be put at ease from the knowledge that any person who picks up your device cannot access your data, they cannot sync your files to a computer, can only make emergency calls, and with the logon banner, perhaps the Good Samaritan will call the "if found, please call..." number.  If the answer is no, well the second level of pain is in store for you, because all those bad things can happen to you, and you have put university data at risk, if you value any communications in your email store on the device.

The CWRU Mobile Configuration for the iPhone and iPad has these distinct features:

  • minimum 5-digit or character passcode to defeat guessing
  • a device wipe setting should a passcode guessing continue beyond 10 tries
  • 5 minute screen inactivity timeout
  • encrypted backup when synchronizing with a computer (a thief cannot easily breakin with a sync cable)
  • Sets the primary WiFi settings to the CaseWireless network
  • CWRU VPN settings
  • LDAP lookups
If you visit the CWRU Service Desk, you can have a nice desktop support person help you install this configuration utility.  Two versions are posted, one for University-owned devices, and one for student (BYOD) devices, the latter being a simpler control set.

How to I find my (properly secured) device if it is lost?  I recommend setting up iCloud services (under iOS 5.0).  This simple service is built into the iOS 5 series, and when you install the Find My iPhone App on your phone or iPad (a similar feature is available for your Mac).  The user manages the App by logging in with their iTunes account, and you have the built-in tracking feature.

Note: this won't work ex post facto, so you have to do the preventative measures before your problems occur.  In summary, make sure you
  1. Apply the secured configuration.
  2. Install and setup the Find My iPhone app and configure iCloud.
Post Script: There are similar features for Android devices- that will be discussed in a later feature.

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