The research firm Gartner predicts that by 2017, at least 25 percent of companies will have their own app stores. Finding the balance between your employees’ personal preferences and security for your business may never be easy. The widespread adoption of BYOD continues to give companies headaches – from the lack of uniformity to the questionable app choices employees make. By creating your own enterprise app store, you can greatly increase the security of what employees bring to the workplace.
What is an Enterprise App Store?
Just as BYOD is increasing in organizations, so is BYOA (‘Bring Your Own App’). Employees find apps they like to use for work and add them to their workflow. Unfortunately, those apps sometimes create security risks for your company. With an enterprise app store, you can prevent this.
Your IT department creates your enterprise app store. It reviews apps and makes them available through an online store (something most employees are now familiar with) once they are determined to be safe. There are simply too many advantages to creating an enterprise app store, even if the initial setup takes some time.
Address a Critical Need
Information security giant Symantec argues the knowledge and data of a corporation are its most important assets. Keeping tabs on your company’s information is critical to the future of your business. Yet, when you allow employee’s apps access your system, you are letting in a huge unknown.
Apps can come from anywhere in the world, and are sometimes designed with malicious intent. The app itself could also be benign, yet still be open to manipulation by parties with ill intent. Either way, your employees will have little understanding of the risk such apps present without the input of your IT team.
Easier For Everyone
The initial process for a company-specific enterprise app store will take some time, but the end result makes things easier for management, IT and employees. Apperian encourages business executives to collaborate with IT departments to decide which employees need which apps. Giving employees access only to apps that help with their specific tasks cuts down on confusion, and helps workers identify the best tools for the job.
The cost of developing an app varies with what content you want it to offer and what kind of app you are creating. BlueCloudSolutions.com breaks down the cost estimates:
$1,000-$4,000 for a simple table-based app.
$8,000-$50,000 for a database native app.
$10,000-$250,000 for app-based games.
Additional functions can change your cost, such as in-app purchasing for $1,000-$3,000, share capabilities for $500-$1,500, Web services for $1,000 to $5,000, etc.
Drawing clearer boundaries for work-appropriate programs does not have to be ultimately restrictive, either. The overwhelming push for both BYOD and BYOA demonstrates the desire of employees for autonomy. Now, however, with solutions such as enterprise mobility management for BlackBerry, you can control business use while giving complete freedom for personal use.
Systems such as BlackBerry’s allow you to partition employee devices into work sections and personal sections. You only allow apps from your company’s enterprise app store on the work partition. And if you do detect a security compromise, you can wipe only the work partition of the device.
Control What is Necessary
Enterprise app stores and enterprise mobility solutions are the future of BYOD. There is little doubt employees will continue to want their own devices in the workplace. By using these enterprise solutions, you can achieve acceptable levels of security across ever-changing personal technologies.