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May 08, 2013

The Apple App Store: No Place to Distribute Enterprise Apps

So you've developed a great customer sales order app and now you want to distribute it to your mobile sales force...the question becomes: how? Sure, you can publish your enterprise apps into the Apple or Google app store, but should you? In a word: No. That’s because if you distribute your app on the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store, or Microsoft’s Windows Store it will become publicly available. Not only that, but mobile apps downloaded from public app stores disrupt IT security, as well as application and procurement strategies, according to Ian Finley, research vice president at Gartner Inc. The fact is that IT departments can’t really control their mobile enterprise apps if they distribute them via cloud-based, public app stores. And if they support public app stores, they also have no way of knowing what other, potentially harmful, apps mobile workers are downloading. But that’s not all. In today’s world of BYOD (bring your own device), enterprises have to be vigilant about protecting their corporate networks and the information contained in these networks. Mobile application management is key to managing and securing internal mobile enterprise apps -- a challenge with public app stores. One of the best ways to achieve manageable applications is via app wrapping, a security solution that automatically wraps fine-grained security policies around individual mobile apps. With app wrapping, enterprises can secure sensitive data by wrapping each of the third-party apps that they want to allow to access corporate resources. But the problem is, IT can’t wrap security and policy around mobile apps in a public app store. To ensure that level of security, IT departments have turned to enterprise app stores to manage their enterprise apps on mobile devices. By 2017, 25% of enterprises will have an enterprise app store, according to Gartner. “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,” Finley says, adding an enterprise app store has to offer a large variety of apps to be successful because users won’t adopt enterprise app stores if they don’t have access to a lot of apps. And when they’re successful, enterprise app stores can increase the value of the apps while reducing the associated risks, license fees and administration expenses, he says.


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