One-quarter of all enterprises will have their own in-house application stores in the next five years, according to latest Gartner research, citing IT staff concerns that the bring-your-own-application (BYOA) trend poses threats to enterprise security and infrastructure reliability.
With a steady increase in bring-your-own-device employees bringing their personal devices—and apps—into work, the threats posed to secure networks and sensitive corporate data are also on the rise.
In case you didn't know, Apple doesn't rule the roost in the enterprise market place. Neither does BlackBerry, or even Google with its Android application store. Enterprises are turning more and more towards their in-house mobile application stores to offer business-ready applications that work as part of their corporate ecosystem.
For many IT managers, the growing number of apps used by bring-your-own-device (BYOD) employees makes it increasingly difficult to manage the amount of data these third-party applications may have to corporate data. Just think: would you really want to use a third-party email app that could potentially route your corporate messages through an unsecure server?
Gartner research vice president Ian Finley noted: "Apps downloaded from public app stores for mobile devices disrupt IT security, application and procurement strategies." He also noted that bring-your-own-application has "become as important" as the bring-your-own-device trend.
"Enterprise app stores promise at least a partial solution but only if IT security, application, procurement and sourcing professionals can work together to successfully apply the app store concept to their enterprises. When successful, they can increase the value delivered by the application portfolio and reduce the associated risks, license fees and administration expenses," he noted.
With this, corporate app stores for mobile devices will help restrict the number of not only rogue and malware-ridden apps downloaded to mobile devices connected to corporate networks, but also those that have looser security requirements, poor data management and those that may pose a threat to corporate data.
The key takeaway from the report is that this growing BYOA—BYOD trend is being slowly nudged along with the increase in enterprise mobile device management (MDM) software, a relatively up-and-coming piece of critical corporate infrastructure to manage the security of devices on a network.
While it's no secret that corporate developed or approved apps can be installed on work devices through MDM software, many enterprises are looking to offer a wider range of apps for their employees.
Introducing in-house enterprise app stores with only a handful of business-focused apps isn't going to warm the hearts of the staff on the ground, and the report warns that those end-users will shy away from their corporate mobile store and revert back to the public offerings.
The best way to solve it? Increase the enterprise app store offerings and offer a better in-house service for business than Apple, BlackBerry, Google, or any other public app store provider can offer.
Gartner research vice president Brian Prentice noted, "Application leaders should be given overall responsibility for any app store initiative, but they should work in a collaborative fashion with other teams. The types of apps downloaded and used provide important information as to what types of solutions are of value to each type of user."