The iPad may not have had the most auspicious start as the essential piece of integrated business kit, but as soon as Apple added the ability to connect with Microsoft Exchange messaging it became much more viable as a business tool. By using Exchange or other standards-based systems, the iPhone or iPad are now both capable of receiving e-mail, contact, and calendar updates automatically.
The iPad is able to integrate with a business’ existing infrastructure because it offers built-in support for key enterprise technologies. This support means that companies are able to get secure access to email, calendar, and contacts via Exchange ActiveSync or open standards like IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV at any time and in any place. With support for IPSec and SSL VPN and WPA2 Enterprise Wi-Fi, users are also able to connect to private corporate networks.
iPad Connectivity and integration
Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync Support
The iPad can connect directly to enterprise mail servers like Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino through Exchange ActiveSync. This capability provides users with push email, calendar events, and contacts. The major concern for businesses had always been the issue of security for users out on the road. However IT administrators can now enforce complex passcodes and remotely wipe a lost or stolen iPad instantly. Moreover, certificate-based authentication means that only approved users get access to Exchange, and that encrypted SSL communication to and from the server keeps data safe.
The iPad will also support standards-based servers for email, calendars and contacts. IMAP servers will enable users to sync email and notes. CalDAV support for calendar servers like iCal Server, Oracle Beehive, or Zimbra can deliver new events and will allow users to create invitations whilst on location. CardDAV and LDAP support also gives users access to their corporate directories.
Virtual Private Networks
The iPad easily connects with corporate VPN servers to give users secure access to critical business information. This is particularly important for users remote from the office using unsecured public Wi-Fi networks. The built-in VPN client supports Cisco IPSec, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP and App Store applications from Juniper and Cisco, and enables support for SSL VPN environments. VPN on- Demand on the iPad makes best use of certificate-based authentication to make connection to VPN servers transparent to users.
Enterprise Wi-Fi Networks
The ability to access enterprise Wi-Fi networks with iPad is now seamless because of support for WPA2 Enterprise Wi-Fi with 802.1X authentication. Features like Automatic Wi-Fi Login and Persistent Wi-Fi make the process of joining known networks and staying connected much easier for both office-based and remote workers.