Just when we thought the ‘BYO’ acronym had reached saturation point, a new spectre has raised its head to both delight and worry industry onlookers. BYOA (Bring-your-own-application) is an inevitable add-on to the BYOD debate. We are all aware that a device is really only differentiated by its OS and access to applications.
For businesses, publicaly available applications such as those hosted by Google Play or iTunes can add real value in terms of improved productivity or communications. However, whilst the average consumer may trust the integrity of apps hosted on the major stores, these apps a) may not be what they seem and b) are not impervious to hacking or other dark deeds.
Samsung’s Galaxy briefly eclipsed Apple last year in the race to the top. Despite this popularity, its platform is the least secure of the leaders. The majority of mobile malware is found on the Android marketplace. Whilst Google prides itself on openness, this can cause problems. iTunes on the other hand is more prescriptive but in turn arguably more secure.
However, even apps hosted on iTunes have their share of security scandals. The recent Evernote security blunder saw 650,000 UK users’ data compromised. Evernote is available on all the main app stores. Apple’s stringent iTunes policy means that security standards are checked and tested, but can’t always catch the back-end issues. Proving even the most popular apps are not fool proof, and that Apple’s systems may not be as ‘iron-clad’ as we are led to believe.
IT managers know this, which is a recent research found that the most blacklisted app by IT in the UK is Dropbox. This may be surprising given its widespread use across industries. Not surprising given its past bad press around security.
What do businesses do then to counter the problems of public apps? Many are turning to in-house options. Not just to internalise security under their own standards, but to answer specific business needs that cannot be served elsewhere.
Where enterprise meets application, a new war is raging. The same research found that in the UK, iOS is the preferred platform for enterprise app development. Conversely our continental counterparts in France and Germany choose Android.
What does this say about the enterprise landscape? Is the UK lagging behind in the BYOD revolution? Or are we correct to take a pragmatic approach? Should consumerisation be put before security, or is there another reason why Apple is winning this war?