Mobile applications are all pervasive. They have fundamentally changed the way we go about our lives. From checking the weather to planning our day to travel to financial transactions to innumerable other tasks, there is an app for that.
We, as users of smart devices, are consuming apps at a crazy pace. In 2012 Q3, downloads hit the staggering figure of 81 billion. The primary reason for this is that these applications are really useful, and simplify our lies, while improving its quality.
Even in the enterprise, the want of these useful little pieces of code is tremendous. Employees are constantly demanding newer capabilities from the organization, whether it is productivity, or access to internal platforms. So much so, that the applications are more important than the device or the OS. In response, enterprises are working hard to deliver to the promise of mobility. A per Gartner, by 2014, most organizations will have private store for delivering to their workforce. However, these endeavors are fraught with commercial, technical and security challenges.
The rollout of mobility and the mobilization of enterprise platforms has to be a delicate balancing act between meeting employee and customer expectations, security requirements, and management overhead. In the end, the employee must get what he / she needs, at a reasonable cost to the company, without breaching any security policies.
The business, in its quest for employee and customer satisfaction should not compromise on the IT team’s policies, while IT must understand that just because it is outside their comfort zone, or has complexity, it is not necessarily something that should not be done or at least explored.
It is very important that the target audience, that is the workforce, understands the boundaries of this newfound freedom and comfort. The dos and don’ts should be clearly communicated and internalized. There are some very important factors that should be well established right upfront. Some of the factors that need to be discussed are:
1. What are business apps?
2. What are personal apps?
3. What is a personal device?
4. What is a business device?
5. Can you install personal apps on a business device?
6. Can a business app be installed on a personal device?
7. What security constraints need to be considered?
8. How to prevent malicious usage?
Mobility is a good thing for organizations, but it’s not without its growing pains. Trying to give users the freedom of choice, while covering corporate assets to protect sensitive data, competitive IP and client contacts, can be a tricky balance. But, it is possible to achieve this goal through an integrated approach to endpoint management.
This was a guest article from Jennifer Lewis.