Enterprise app stores are quickly becoming the current rage among the business sector. Thanks to the extensive use of mobile devices in enterprise, business establishments are faced with the issue of regulating the use of mobile device applications among employees. Most companies do not yet have an in-house mobile app development team – such establishments are now turning to the concept of EAS in order to resolve this problem. What does EAS mean and what implication does it have on the enterprise sector today?
Enterprise App Store – What is This?
An enterprise app store, also commonly referred to as an EAS, is an online app store which enables companies to securely supervise and regulate the licensing, distribution and management of certain approved mobile apps to its employees. This store is created to be compatible with the latest technology; including the most advanced smartphones and tablets; also taking into account all the aspects of cloud computing. An EAS helps companies ensure that corporate security policies are followed at all times, while also giving employees a good user experience while downloading and using these mobile apps in the office environment.
An EAS can be seen as the corporate answer to consumer-oriented app stores such as Google Play, Apple App Store and so on. By deploying apps via this secure channel, the IT department of the company can regulate their use, while also controlling mobile, Web and cloud software security to a certain extent.
Bigger companies that do have an in-house mobile development team at their disposal usually prefer to create their own exclusive enterprise app stores, so that they can exert more control and also ensure better overall security in the workplace.
How EAS Differs from Consumer App Stores
While consumer app stores endeavor to get the maximum amount of users to purchase their apps, enterprise app stores try and limit the purchase and use of apps. The enterprise sector aims to minimize its own costs of licensing apps and so, it would grant employees only so much access to the app that his level or designation in the office deserves.
The enterprise security team constantly monitors and reviews the app purchases and downloads of its employees, so as to ensure maximum adherence to licenses and user rights. This process requires stringent workflow systems to be attached to the EAS.
Companies need to keep track of their app license agreements and renewals. Neglecting this aspect may force the company to incur a high degree of unwarranted penalties, which usually show up in software audits.
Advantages of EAS
The enterprise IT sector has full control over the type of apps that employees download and use in the workplace. This store could contain a combination of both externally licensed apps as well as those developed exclusively by and for the company. Establishments can stipulate the use of these apps by developing certain internal policies and licensing procedures for these apps. This helps companies ensure better security in the office environment.
Employees are benefited too, as they can enjoy a consumer-style app store experience, while also being sure about the quality and security of these applications. While users can download all the apps they wish, just like in a regular mobile app store, they can rest in the knowledge that they would not be violating any office security policy while downloading and using these applications.
Types of Enterprise App Stores
There have been an increasing number of EAS vendors, each offering different features, catering to different requirements of companies. The leading vendors include Cisco, McAfee, Apperian, and now, the Apple App Store as well.
Cisco offers both external as well as internally licensed apps to end-users.
McAfee, which has already established itself in the field of antivirus and related security technologies, has included basic EAS features to its general framework.
Apperian now includes an EAS module in its mobile development profile.
The Apple App Store, though not an EAS, has now come out with a recent corporate purchasing program. It enables the IT sector to purchase its app licenses in bulk and then deploy them to employees.
Is EAS the Future of Enterprise?
With more employees using their mobile devices in the workplace, it becomes imperative for companies to exploit the full potential of their IT department, asking them to formulate mobile device and mobile app strategies in order to ensure maximum enterprise security. Setting up enterprise app stores can help companies give their employees the best possible end-user experience, while also ensuring their maximum productivity in office.