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Mar 27, 2013

6 Reasons to Adopt Enterprise App Stores

First there was BYOD (bring your own device) and now there’s BYOA (bring your own apps) -- and both movements bring a level of uncertainty in terms of mobile security. Without dedicated enterprise app stores, it's easy for companies and organizations to question applications downloaded by employees. The fact is; the mobile workforce is downloading from public app stores for both personal and and corporate use -- applications that easily could contain malware.

With close to two million apps in the Google and Apple app stores alone, it’s hard for companies to be certain of the security and appropriateness of the apps that employees download to their corporate-owned or private mobile devices. While it’s practically impossible for companies to stop employees from downloading apps from public app markets, they have to do everything possible to protect their corporate networks. By developing an enterprise app store, users can access mobile applications that have been approved by the business. This way, IT departments can better manage manage software licenses and have more control over security.

Worries about the proliferation of the BYOA movement has more companies looking to enterprise app stores. In fact, Gartner predicts 25% of enterprises will have enterprise app stores by 2017 to manage corporate-sanctioned apps on mobile devices as well as PCs. “Enterprise app stores promise greater control over the apps used by employees, greater control over software expenditures and greater negotiating leverage with app vendors, but this greater control is only possible if the enterprise app store is widely adopted,” according to Gartner.

Raj Sabhlok points out six reasons companies should adopt enterprise app stores:

  1. Cut costs. Enterprises can save money by controlling which apps can be downloaded and how many licenses are in use.
  2. Eliminate apps that are not used or not well liked. “Enterprise app stores typically feature internal app ratings, which means that an organization can eliminate licenses of apps that are not used or well-liked to realize immediate cost saving,” according to Sabhlock.
  3. Have the best of both worlds. A number of software packages for enterprise apps integrate with public stores like Apple’s App Store Volume Purchase Program, which makes it easier for companies to find, buy, and distribute the apps the business needs. This program also helps companies find third-party developers to build custom enterprise apps.
  4. Keep a close eye on what’s going on. Enterprise app stores can let IT know who accessed which apps when, which is a requirement for many IT regulations including SOX.
  5. Create roles-based access to apps. With role-based access, IT can regulate who has access to which apps based on an individual’s responsibility in the company.
  6. Ensure the apps meet corporate security policies. An enterprise app store enables IT to ensure employees only connect with apps that meet company security policies.

Sabhlok reminds us that like BYOD, BYOA is not going away. But companies that implement enterprise app stores can be more confident that the apps their employees download won’t put the business at risk.


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