The Promise of a Unified App Catalog for the Enterprise

Applications can improve the way we get through the day. There are apps for shopping, getting to your next destination, staying abreast of the latest news, keeping in touch with loved ones — no matter what you need, chances are there’s an app for it.

It’s no different for enterprises. Apps have helped revolutionize entire industries and have become the linchpin of managing people. They enable employees to get work done from anywhere and supervisors to manage their increasingly mobile staffs. Work processes can become simple, efficient and enjoyable when apps are in play. They create happier employees and empower them to accomplish more in less time.

With this in mind, it is imperative for businesses to properly manage and secure their applications using a unified app catalog.

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Are You Passing the App-Titude Test?

Whether working from a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop, it shouldn’t be any more or less difficult for workers to access the apps they need to do their jobs. For years, IT and security leaders have relied on enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions to deliver enterprise app catalogs to their users. These tools make it easy to showcase required or recommended Apple iOS or Google Android apps and ensure a smooth download process.

Organizations should not depend on these EMM capabilities alone, because they do not provide the same experience across Windows and Apple devices. By no means can these form factors be ignored. Apps are apps, and their advantages don’t waver across different form factors. Moreover, Windows has long dominated the enterprise and shows no signs of slowing down with Windows 10. And let’s not forget about Apple devices, which were once deemed only suitable for creative and educational functions but are now slowly but surely popping up across all industries.

Closing the App Gap With a Unified App Catalog

Unified endpoint management (UEM) solutions can help IT leaders smooth out these inconsistencies. No matter what type of device a worker needs or chooses, UEM offers a way to manage and secure it, in addition to its apps and data. Similar to the app catalogs that can be deployed to iOS and Android devices through an EMM tool, a UEM solution can deliver a unified app catalog that is usable across all form factors. Your UEM should make it easy for employees to see the apps they need for work all in one place, whether they’re using a Windows or Apple device.

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In the example below, a Windows app catalog is available to all Windows PCs enrolled in the UEM platform, giving them access to public apps such as the Weather Channel and the Wall Street Journal, in addition to Win32 apps.

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In this example, the iOS app catalog shows users when newer versions are available. After being alerted by the UEM, users can complete the update with a single click. They can also review and rate apps available to them, enabling IT to monitor their usefulness and make adjustments to improve the overall experience. Departmentalization capabilities make it easy to display apps that are suitable for a given audience, depending on where it falls on the organization chart.

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Providing Seamless and Secure App Access

In addition to the public and private apps that are accessible through a unified app catalog, mobile workers need to gain access to cloud and web apps such as Salesforce, Concur, Box and Office 365 for everyday use. Your UEM platform should have identity and access management (IAM) capabilities that make it easy for users to access apps securely.

One of the biggest hurdles when jumping from one work app to the next is the hassle of entering passwords over and over again. Your UEM’s identity management should be able to provide single sign-on (SSO) access to web and cloud apps, eliminating the need to enter passwords multiple times in one session.

The IAM functionality should also be able to assess the compliance state of the devices attempting to connect to these apps. This gatekeeping capability, known as conditional access, ensures that unmanaged, unauthorized or noncompliant endpoints are denied access.

Watch our on-demand webinar to learn why UEM and IAM are better together. Our experts also discuss steps your organization can start taking today to provide the best possible experience for your employees across all app use cases.

Watch the on-demand webinar: Infusing Identity Everywhere

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John Harrington Jr.

Portfolio Marketing for IBM MaaS360

John has spent the past 6 years working for an industry-leading Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based unified endpoint management (UEM) provider, specializing in product marketing. In this capacity, John works closely with product development and offering management counterparts to develop creative assets and messaging that differentiate IBM MaaS360 with Watson as the industry’s first and only cognitive UEM solution. John represents IBM through his participation in live educational webcasts, industry events, conferences and trade shows, and is a blog contributor on SecurityIntelligence.com. In his spare time, John enjoys exploring the city of Philadelphia with his fiancée and their two beagles. He is an avid cyclist, cook and home brewer who loves watching his favorite sports teams dominate (all except for that last part; he is a Washington Redskins fan).