Do enterprises need their own app stores?

Moderated by Lawrence Dignan | May 27, 2013 -- 07:00 GMT (00:00 PDT)

Summary: BYOD has added a layer of complexity to IT management. Can internal app stores help?

Eileen Brown

Eileen Brown

Yes

or

No

Matt Baxter-Reynolds

Matt Baxter-Reynolds

Best Argument: Yes

77%
23%

Audience Favored: Yes (77%)

Closing Statements

App stores offer simpicity

Eileen Brown

The plethora of devices makes it difficult for IT teams to manage their infrastructure – a far cry from the limited range in use only 10 years ago. Many enterprises have to manage complex operating systems, applications and hardware and struggle to manage software installations, updates and patches.

Enterprise app stores offer IT teams a simple way to manage their software assets but they are not right for every business. Businesses with a limited range of approved software that use virtualisation and embedded devices will find it much easier to manage their software assets and hardware devices.

Flexibility will give users the key to work effectively – but flexibility comes with a cost and potential security risk. Balancing this risk against perceived benefits whilst deciding how much the organisation is prepared to compromise security will remain a key factor when deciding to implement an enterprise app store for many years to come.

App store doesn't bring much

Matt Baxter-Reynolds

For enterprise-supplied devices, MDM is a must, but I don't think the app store metaphor brings much to this party. It makes more sense to know which audiences you have within the organisation, what apps they need, and then simply push those apps down proactively.

For BYOD, one thing we didn't touch on was potential invasiveness of MDM. For example, if you bring your iPhone into work, do you really want your organisation stopping you from using Facebook on company time. Or if the employee loses their iPad, do you want to be the one to explain to them that you wiped the entire device losing the only copy of video from their child's first birthday party?

The app store has it's place, namely in retail.

Distribution and quality control

Lawrence Dignan

Eileen Brown made her case well, illustrated how enterprises need to control their app distribution and quality and overall won the argument. In addition, the crowd happens to agree with her.  Matt Baxter-Reynolds had solid points, but couldn't close the gap. Eileen gets the win.

Talkback

21 comments
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  • BYOD or no - it's an interesting proposition.

    I'll start by saying I'm not really a big fan of BYOD, and that I'm likely to buy my own separate work device should I ever have to work for a business that requires BYOD.

    I'm certainly never going to put my personal phone on a business network.

    That being said an "enterprise app store" is an interesting proposition, and that could take a load off of the shoulders of IT, regardless of the BYOD policy.

    The users would be in charge of downloading software as they need it, so the IT personnel wouldn't have the burden of deploying the software.

    That is, assuming that easy-to-use tools are available for creating such stores.

    It could potentially have downsides, though: If there are limited numbers of licenses for the software, and users abuse the system to download software you really don't need, you could find yourself in a position where the people who really need the software can't use it because abusers used up all of the licenses. Things like that certainly need to be addressed.

    But do businesses *need* app stores?

    I'd say no. Especially small ones might not need something like that. This strikes me as something for medium to large businesses.

    I will likely vote "no," but it would be a weak "no," as I can certainly see the benefits. I am not *against* the idea of having an app store. But on the other hand, I don't see it as being so overwhelmingly useful that it could be labelled as a "must have" for businesses.
    CobraA1
    Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • How is that any different than "side loading" applications?

    Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck...
    jessepollard
    Reply Vote I'm for Yes
    • Probably the trust aspect

      If you can set up a company store where all available apps are trusted (after appropriate testing, presumably), the IT people are more likely to be willing to work with it.
      Third of Five
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • Not a solution

    The real reason people bring their own device is because of the employers restricting their employees sometimes to such an extent they forced to use external channels to do their work, or just to feel connected to the outside world. So now we are going back to it?
    andries.spies
    Reply Vote I'm for No
  • I voted yes but I am not sure that it applies to all enterprises.

    I work for a major Midwestern university and for many years we have had a website whose sole purpose is to deliver to students any software for which the university holds an enterprise-wide license. Of course, a university environment represents the epitome of BYOD but the premise is the same. In light of the explosion of BYOD devices, whether or not the institution needs something more attuned to the needs of individual devices is a different question.

    Most BYOD devices already have access to an OS-dependent app store so enterprise-specific apps are often better served through the vendors app store than through an enterprise-specific app store.

    Still, I think the time is coming when BYOD will require the enterprise to make industry-specific applications available through such an app store mechanism and whether or not OS vendors allow the enterprise to connect to the device via an enterprise app store or whether the enterprise is forces to use Google Play, or the Apple AppStore remains to be seen. Microsoft has already said they will permit the enterprise to "side-load" their own apps.
    M Wagner
    Reply Vote I'm for Yes
  • blackberry does this, hello

    I'm surprised you don't know or didn't mention that blackberry 10 devices have their own enterprise app store. In fact blackberry has had this for years. They never seem to get credit where deserved.
    Ahnomimush
    Reply 1 Vote I'm for Yes
    • BES 10

      Yes, and BES 10 can do that for Android 2.2>, iOS 4>, BB 10, and PlayBook 2.x devices.

      Done.

      That was easy.
      bb_apptix
      Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
  • Not even on the table...unless we can remove what we want when we want.

    Simply by connecting to our corporate network with your own device reserves us the right to wipe the phone when it is believed that something installed is a security risk. What is a security risk? Who monitors them? How many new FTEs for all of that? Do the user's feel comfortable granting this kind of control of their own device to their employer?

    The opening statement sounds nice but not for personal devices. If you are restricted to apps only provided by your company then shouldn't it be a company device managed by the company?

    If you connect your existing phone using vpn to your company network have you read the company policies? Ah, thats why that app has the access it does!
    hashref
    Reply Vote I'm for No
    • Not even....

      Many FTEs want to use their own devices particularly remote workers and road warriors that want light or feature rich devices. Selective wipe is a reality and a corp responsibility in BYOD scenarios.

      Any half-@$$ IT department can monitor & automate Alerts to users and move the users access to a GUEST status in a highly secure DMZ. Skills and grey-matter is all that stands in the way.
      TXtunes
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
    • What makes you think

      we need to connect to your network. We are the knowledge workers who create the content. If you do not serve us we will move our content to other servers and dismiss you.
      AnalogJoystick
      Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided