iWork for iCloud security threats flagged


Apple’s decision to roll out its content creation platform iWork to its iCloud offering poses new security risks that CIOs will need to take control of, it has been claimed.

iWork is Apple's suite of content creation applications, which was launched for Mac OSX in 2005. It incorporates Pages, a word processing programme, presentation application Keynote, and spreadsheet creator Numbers.

While users had previously been restricted to using these applications on the desktop (although online sharing was available between 2009 and 2012), the integration with iCloud will give them the ability to create and edit content in the cloud.

The bringing together of the services has led to iWork for iCloud being compared to the likes of Google Apps and Office 365.

However, while the introduction of iWork into iCloud may bring a boost to employee productivity and collaboration, Richard Walters, CTO of web application security provider SaaSID, has warned that CIOs will need to consider the risks posed by the move and implement policies to ensure they keep control of who can access documents within the cloud service.

In particular, Walters voiced concern over the fact iCloud automatically syncs with users’ Apple devices, including iPhones and iPads.

“iWork in the cloud will allow Apple devotees to access and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and presentations in browser-based versions of these applications, in the same way that businesses currently use Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365,” he said.

“Organisations that are adopting Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365 are already addressing how to govern corporate information and prevent it from being shared with employees’ personal accounts...Now they must consider iCloud’s synchronisation of iWork documents to any device,” he added.

The decision to roll out iWork to iCloud was announced in early July at Apple's WWDC conference, when it was opened up to developers for testing. A public beta began in the third week of the month and the service is expected to go live to the general public in the autumn.

Cloud Pro approached Apple for comment on this story, but had not received a response at the time of publication.