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Four Disadvantages to Workers Playing Around With Consumer Mobile Apps in Your Enterprise

Woman walking smartphone videogameThere are plenty of advantages to using the default mobile apps on iOS or Android. They’re convenient, for one – the moment you boot up your phone, you can check your mail, listen to music, and much more. They’re also easy to use and closely integrated with built-in device features.

Unfortunately, while they may be appealing for consumers, such apps are less so in a business context. When compared against their shortcomings, the advantages of built-in apps – and of consumer apps in general – are only skin-deep, and allowing their use is essentially playing games with both your business’s critical data and your bottom line. There are several reasons for this.

1. Default Apps Can Kill Productivity

Designed for consumers, default apps lack many of the ‘business-class’ features that are necessary for workplace efficiency, such as online presence or integration with document repositories. An employee cannot, for example, check the availability of someone on Android through the built-in mail app. That interrupts workflows, adding steps that slow down employees.

These apps also tend to offer an inconsistent user experience between devices, causing employees to waste an inordinate amount of time on simple business tasks. Day-to-day, the average employee uses approximately three devices within the workplace. The ability to access your work regardless of which device you’re on is extremely valuable. And it’s a capability built-in apps generally can’t provide. Often, they will be forced to finish their work on a desktop PC rather than via mobile. That’s far from ideal.

2. Default Apps Are Challenging to Support

The fact that built-in applications offer an inconsistent user experience across platforms doesn’t just represent a problem for your end users, but also an issue for your IT department. Since these apps are generally designed with a platform-specific user experience in mind, support teams need to understand the nuances and intricacies of every single operating system in your organization.

This also means that when a user runs into trouble, the cause won’t always be easy to determine – especially given that there’s a good chance different users will be using different releases of the same app. A bug in an Android app will, for example, look very different from one in an iOS app.

3. For Consumer Apps, Security is Suspect

House of cardsSecuring default apps can feel like trying to balance a house of cards – one wrong move, and your efforts are for naught.

That’s because default apps are made for consumers – and because they’re installed directly on a user’s device, they tend to make use of device-specific security controls. The problem is that every phone or tablet manufacturer implements security in its own fashion. Reliance on these controls therefore leads to inconsistent security across your organization, greatly increasing the risk that sensitive data might be leaked via rogue apps – especially since they use local storage.

And there are more of those than you might think; 48.2% of applications on iOS and 86.7% of applications on Android are prone to data leakage. Nearly the same number exhibit privacy-invasive behaviors such as location tracking, transmitting device ID details, or accessing contact details.

Factor in that most offer scant protection for in-transit data, and you’re looking at a powder keg from a security standpoint – because at the end of the day, you’re only secure as the least secure device on your network.

4. Integrating Built-in apps into Existing Investments is Difficult

Default apps are challenging enough to implement into platforms they aren’t built for. Extending them to support investments in enterprise IM like Microsoft Lync or file repositories such as SharePoint only adds a further layer of complexity to their deployment – and it’s one that can be nearly impossible to navigate. To address this without abandoning your existing tools and platforms, all you can really do is either invest in a third-party solution to ‘connect’ your apps, or develop one yourself.

Both are costly and time-consuming, and neither is an ideal option.

How BlackBerry Helps You Unlock Secure Productivity

Close up of keyhole and keyHere’s where BlackBerry comes in. As part of BlackBerry Secure, we’ve constructed a suite of powerful, multiplatform apps that integrate both seamlessly and securely with your business’s existing solutions. Built on the industry-leading BlackBerry Dynamics development platform, they balance security with productivity – the key to keeping your employees connected and satisfied no matter what devices they use.

Currently, our app portfolio consists of the following:

  • BlackBerry Work is our best-in-class enterprise productivity app for email, calendar, contacts, docs, and more–built with the expertise gained from over 20 years of IT investment in collaboration technologies.
  • BlackBerry Access is a leading enterprise browsing solution that equips employees with secure corporate intranet access and custom HTML5 apps.
  • BlackBerry Connect integrates with the leading enterprise IM solutions to keep employees in touch with one another.
  • BlackBerry Notes is a secure note-taking solution designed for enterprise employees.
  • Blackberry Tasks is a powerful personal task management application.
  • BlackBerry Docs To Go is an all-in-one solution for creating, editing, and formatting Microsoft Office documents via mobile.
  • BlackBerry Share allows your employees to securely access, edit, and synchronize files from both local and corporate file repositories such as SharePoint and Box.

Consumer applications certainly have their place, but it is not in enterprise. You need to provide a suite of purpose-built, enterprise-class tools within your business. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when you cannot protect your data.

About Diana Levan