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The Major Features an Enterprise App Needs

 

Written by Michael Kelley, Content Strategist, Fueled

Most users of smartphones and tablets see apps as personal, something through which to get the latest news or weather. But for businesses, apps are a way to stay connected to their employees 24/7 and to allow them access to their work and coworkers while they're traveling or even when they're out running errands.

Apps that connect to enterprise servers, though, are a bit different from the games or news apps users download from the App Store or the Google Play store. And suffice it to say that the apps a mobile app developer creates for businesses are also different. These apps should include features like integration with current enterprise software, but overall the app should have solid security.

Must-Haves for Enterprise Apps

Most employers realize their employees have a smartphone, a tablet, or at the very least, a laptop and they see how an app could increase productivity. That said, a developer must add features that will enhance this possibility and integrate with the enterprise environment.

So, during the enterprise app development phase, a developer must include unique and customized tools that cover every area an employee would need to do his job outside the office. Some of these tools might be the following:

  • An email management system
  • Productivity tools
  • Third-party tools and contact sync (for mobile users)
  • A shared directory

Valuable Extras to Consider During Enterprise App Development

While the elements above would make for a functional and successful enterprise app, there are some other nice-to-haves that would make it more useful to a company's employees. Besides the more obvious characteristics that the app should look appealing, be easy to navigate, and run at peak performance, an app could also enhance productivity with these features:

  • Push notifications
  • Real-time messaging and data sharing
  • Multi-platform support so the app runs on Android and iOS

These three items illustrate the importance of employees being connected to one another, an essential factor for any kind of work emergency or outage. Having a multi-platform approach means that employees aren't forced to have the same type of device. However, the most paramount feature in any enterprise app is how it uses security. Employees should feel guaranteed that their conversations, confidential data, and the ideas they share with coworkers are safe.

Ensuring Enterprise App Security

 

A 2016 analysis by Bock & Company concluded that security in enterprise app development is more important than how the app performs or even the overall user experience. A few major security areas should always be checked in an app to ensure overall safe usage.

With all the time developers spend working on an app, it's still easy to miss something and accidentally create a security vulnerability. That's why it's a good idea to scan the apps before they connect to servers to make sure they have not been compromised. Items like jailbreak detection, checksum controls, and certificate pinning all should be considered. An additional layer of encryption on top of what the mobile OS offers is also not a bad idea.

Other Server-Side Security

Of course, there are other areas of security that a developer can't always foresee or instill in his app as preventive measures. One of those is data leakages due to bugs that lead to caching, logging, etc. Another area is authentication and use of weak passwords. Developers should also provide the option to administrators to assign the rights a user has and what that user is allowed to do when connecting to an enterprise server.

One of the best ways a developer can prevent potential problems is by incorporating Inter-Process Communication (IPC) during the enterprise app development phase. Basically, this process keeps apps from accepting data from or connecting to unverified sources. This is something a user may not always be aware of, especially with all the phishing scams out there.

For an extra layer of security, developers could require that the app be used only on a VPN connection. Since a lot of companies are already doing this for employees connecting remotely to company servers via laptops, an app that only works via VPN provides a high level of security.

In most cases, though, employees do a lot of their work while offline unless their employer is tracking their time. A secure VPN allows for this functionality as well. But if the app allows the employee to do 95% of his work in offline mode, the risks of hacking can be mitigated.

Conclusion

Enterprise apps and personal apps share some similarities, but they are actually very different. Enterprise apps are used in a more controlled environment where a user has enough functionality to carry out most of his job duties. That activity is tracked by admins and the servers they regulate. And while an employee should be able to have a seamless experience between the office or home, no one, not even the app developer, can ensure that. What a developer can do, though, is make sure the app he writes has visual appeal, boosted performance, and the best security available.

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About the Author
 
Michael Kelley

Michael is a professional tech writer and content strategist with an app development background. He specializes in Android & iOS app design, as well as blockchain & app technology.

Ever since he was a child, Michael was captivated by technology. When the opportunity arose to spend his life writing about it, Michael didn't hesitate. He now spends his time exploring and writing about captivating new technologies to introduce to the people.
Published Tuesday, July 03, 2018 7:34 AM by David Marshall
Comments
The Significant Options an Enterprise App Demands | EMC VMAX - (Author's Link) - July 5, 2018 3:31 PM
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