Three quarters of all companies allow some sort of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) usage. Chances are, your organization is probably one of them. So how does your company determine what apps you should be using on your mobile device that allow you to do your job? Can they recommend apps that you should be using and blacklist those that go against an organization's security policies?
Most employees load apps onto their mobile devices the same way that every teenager does—by browsing and downloading apps hosted on a public app store such as Google Play or the Apple App Store. These public app stores have their own rules about which apps can and cannot be made available for download. Apple, for example, has a set of App Review Guidelines monitored by an App Review Board that approves and rejects apps.
But the rules and restrictions defined by a public app store might not match those of your organization. What's needed is to offer enterprise app management tailored to your organization's needs. This solution should be able to:
Recommend apps (both in public app stores and in internal enterprise app stores)
Restrict apps from performing certain tasks such as sharing data with the cloud
Remotely remove apps from a user's device
Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices can help
Enter IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices. You might already be familiar with Endpoint Manager as a centralized policy enforcement solution that runs across devices including desktops and servers. The Mobile Devices edition of Endpoint Manager provides capabilities such as device wipe, jailbreak/root detection and encryption management.
And it's the enterprise app management component of Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices that can help manage apps suitable for your enterprise.
Enterprise app management aggregates mobile apps from multiple sources and presents them to the user into one enterprise view. This view can contain links to apps hosted in a public app store, point to specific pre-built binaries or even integrate with Worklight Application Center. Through the IBM Mobile Client app, users have one platform from which they can browse, locate and download all enterprise-approved applications.
The advantages of a managed approach
Having an enterprise-specific app space, containing only apps approved by an enterprise, brings many advantages:
Employees can easily locate the apps that are recommended and approved. The list of apps that an employee sees can even be tailored, so for example an internal tester has access to a different set of apps than an external client-facing consultant.
Installation of important apps can be enforced. By marking an app as “Must Install” a user must install that app upon launching the IBM Mobile Client.
The enterprise can monitor who has which app installed and even make volume purchases of apps based on this information.
Apps can be remotely wiped from a device when, for example, an individual is decommissioned from the infrastructure.
Access to cloud-based services can be restricted. A decision can be made whether to allow backups of application data to services such as Apple iCloud.
For more information on the enterprise app management component of Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices, and how to integrate it with Worklight Application Center, see the IBM Redpaper publication Enabling Mobile Apps with IBM Worklight Application Center.
How has your organization managed apps within the enterprise? Leave a comment below or Follow Martin Keen on Twitter.