Posted 7/1/2016 6:57:13 AM by MITCH BLACK, President of MOBI
From Security Research Labs breaking into a phone within seconds on 60 Minutes earlier this year to the Apple/FBI debacle, it’s increasingly clear that enterprises have varying levels of device security protocols in place.
Surprisingly, the responsibility of ensuring vital data remains secure, especially as BYOD policies and a mobile-first workforce become the norm, falls more on the shoulders of developers than you may think. Through developing systems that seamlessly integrate into managed mobility services (MMS), developers can simultaneously cope with these trends while assisting companies in better managing mobile ecosystems.
The Challenges Surrounding Enterprise Mobility Applications
A recent report from the Enterprise Mobility Exchange states that 60.8% of companies surveyed had invested in mobile applications development in the last 12-18 months. Of those, 44.6% had invested in mobile and enterprise security, 43.8% in Mobile Device Management (MDM), and 36.2% in solutions for BYOD.
With an increase in the adoption of applications within the workplace – some of which are approved by IT, and some which employees download to their personal/work devices in BYOD environments – it’s vital for companies to maintain security.
Email, calendar, and contact management are the most popular types of mobile apps enabled through BYOD policies. These applications, which are designed to boost productivity, are the same applications that can increase the risk of data breaches, intrusions, or malware incidents. Finding the right balance between productivity and security is critical to the success of apps in the BYOD workplace.
As a result, companies are cracking down on suspicious apps that may bring malicious software or malware into their systems, resulting in heavy burdens on organizations’ IT resources and help desk workloads.
Tips When Developing Enterprise Applications
The key for developers to maintain sanity while also protecting client and company data is to provide apps that are easily adopted and can also be integrated into existing enterprise mobility management (EMM) systems. When checking apps and determining whether to allow them on corporate devices or within BYOD policies, companies typically want apps that simultaneously work on every operating system the company’s mobile devices support.
Unfortunately, there is no overall standard programming language that works across all devices. Due to the differences in operating systems, a developer cannot just write one app that works across all devices. For example, iOS apps utilize Swift, whereas Android devices can utilize multiple programming languages such as Java. Also, iOS, Android, and Windows all utilize different Software Development Kits (SDK’s) for enterprise applications packaging. This creates a need for developers to write multiple applications that accommodate all devices in the enterprise.
EMM systems can help developers ensure apps are secure through their standardized process and procedures, including tools that detect and close security vulnerabilities. They also help make sure the app is protected from reverse engineering; EMM systems can be used to secure devices through encryption, and also detect malicious devices that have been jailbroken or rooted.
When creating an application for the enterprise, developers must keep the following in mind:
- The easier your app is to monitor with an EMM policy already in place, the more likely it will be adopted into BYOD systems.
- Address quality assurance, performance validation, business service automation and management, user experience, and device compatibility from the beginning. And the fact that these apps will likely be used in BYOD settings must always remind top of mind.
- There is a constant need to re-check even finished products. Google’s found several legitimate apps over the years infected with fraudulent, invisible ads as a result of vulnerabilities being hacked.
BYOD and mobile-first workforces will continue to impact the future of enterprise mobility. To help companies maintain their vital data while keeping it secure, developers must reassess the creation process for any application that will be used within the enterprise.
Through creating apps that easily integrate with EMM systems, developers can help companies avoid the headache of having to recreate systems or retrieve data that employees lost, enable easy upgrades with the release of updates, and allow easy access for system administrators to monitor and adjust any changes within the system.
By delivering safe, compatible, and easily managed apps, developers poise themselves and their apps for better adoptability within the BYOD EMM space.
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