In an earlier post titled: Windows Phone: Built for Business we showcased how Microsoft's mobile offering was enabling businesses with a host of enterprise-level features that companies have stated slot in seamlessly with most business IT infrastructures. Recently further announcements have been made recently detailing additional functionality and features coming to Windows Phone to be utilized in business.

Microsoft has announced that they will be increasing the length of the support lifecycle for Windows Phone 8 from 18 months to 36 months. This includes incremental updates, including security updates, available for Windows Phone 8 for the next 36 months.  Mobile operator's or phone manufacturer's may control the distribution of said incremental updates and update availability may also vary by country, region, and device hardware capabilities. 

Microsoft will also be releasing an enterprise feature pack as an update to Windows Phone 8 which will provide IT departments with additional control over Windows Phones enabling employees a fuller productivity experience. Features included in the enterprise feature pack are: 

  • S/MIME to sign and encrypt email 
  • Access to corporate resources behind the firewall with app aware, auto-triggered VPN 
  • Enterprise Wi-Fi support with EAP-TLS 
  • Enhanced MDM policies to lock down functionality on the phone for more enterprise control, in addition to richer application management such as allowing or denying installation of certain apps 
  • Certificate management to enroll, update, and revoke certificates for user authentication

Plans to offer the feature pack as an update are currently scheduled for the first half of 2014. This enterprise feature upgrade now provides IT professionals the confidence to deploy Windows Phone within their organization with the knowledge that their organization's data is secure and the users they support are seamlessly enabled.