7 best practices to securely deploy enterprise-grade apps
If you’re like most companies, you’ve implemented BYOD policies and are enabling employees to use their personal devices for work. You’ve created security and compliance guidelines that are now in place across your organization. You’ve possibly even considered and/or have implemented a mobile device management (MDM) solution to help your IT teams extend their management capabilities to many of these new endpoints.
The next step? Focus on the apps that you’re delivering to all these various devices and locations.
Mobility is so much more than simply supporting email and browsers. It’s about giving users the ability to do their jobs from anywhere—and giving them seamless, secure access to the apps and data they use every day. That means deploying enterprise-grade apps—like Microsoft Office, essential legacy desktop apps and the latest SaaS and Web apps. Not to mention, ensuring a user experience just like they can get while sitting at a desk back at the office.
To that end, here are our seven best-practices for deploying mission-critical apps to mobile users:
Start with a strategy
Before you implement anything, make sure you have a clear strategy in place. Assess your various application needs and determine what systems you have to support those needs. Understanding the bigger picture will help you create an effective solution that works well across the entire organization.
Use third-party mobile apps
Sometimes, the easiest and most efficient solution is to let someone else create the app. This is especially applicable if you are lacking a skilled development staff. The downsides here are whether the app already exists and if it has the functionality you want for your users.
Many times, this is IT’s first consideration. But as many have already found out, this can have significant, unintended consequences due to how these legacy applications were initially developed. Mobile devices might not have the memory and storage for such apps, and the user experience might be very different than what users are comfortable with on desktops.
Develop native apps
If you have ample development staff (along with time and budget), creating native versions of apps can be an ideal solution. You can often provide the best performance and user experience because the app is tuned for specific devices and also has the security features you want. The main question is if you can stay ahead of the innovation curve of users constantly updating to new devices or added new requirements, which can make your efforts obsolete.
Adopting mobile web apps
For an organization with several different mobile platforms in use, developing a web-based application that runs on a website geared to mobile devices can have multiple benefits. A single, mobile, web-based application will, theoretically, work across mobile devices and platforms, saving considerable development resources in a BYOD environment.
The drawback is that web-based apps will likely not be optimized for a single device. As a result, performance and functionality may have to be sacrificed.
Build using HTML 5
HTML 5 delivers many cross-platform advantages of web development with some platform-specific advantages of native apps. However, a hybrid HTML 5 application will likely not perform as well as a native application built solely for a particular device and will not be as customizable. Security is also likely to be tighter and easier to build into a native application as there will be better access to the advanced security features and encryption of each platform.
Take advantage of virtual desktops and apps
One of the fastest, easiest ways to provide mobile access to vital apps, regardless of their operating system, is virtually. Apps centrally stored in the data center can be accessed over the network or the application interface; they can be streamed and held locally on the mobile device on a secured, encrypted file system with strict enterprise policy enforcement. Admins can even configure application streaming to provide several hours of offline access so that users can continue to be productive when they’re out of reach of an Internet connection.
Every organization has various needs, challenges, options and considerations that need to be properly assessed before any decision is made. And, while each mobile deployment option has its advantages and weaknesses, you have to find the option(s) that work best for your environment and your users.
Download our new white paper, “7 best practices to securely deploy enterprise-grade apps to mobile users.”