When selecting a vendor to help build your EAS there are several questions you should ask. Do they support multiple mobile OSs? How strong is their access control and security and does it integrate into your existing security and control solution. Do they have a way to help verify that an app doesn't pose a threat? How good is their user interface?
Just as important is their management, administrative and reporting capability. Make sure when they explain their administrative abilities that they have a good story on how they make sure employees get the latest version and how the employee knows when to go looking for the newest version. Can they help when an employee changes jobs or leaves the company?
Before you go shopping there are several questions that you need to ask yourself so you can clearly communicate your needs. Who is going to have access to your EAS? Is it only for employees or can business partners and customer access the site? Are you going to allow BYOD or are employees restricted to corporate owned devices? Can the solution tell the difference between corporate-owned devices and BYOD? These questions impact type and level of access control and security needs. Solutions that depend on an agent on the device may have problems in a BYOD world since the enterprise doesn't control the device.
An EAS is in the future of most enterprises. The move away from Blackberries is happening. Apps are coming to employee devices and if an EAS is there when the move happens the enterprise has a better chance of training the employee to use the EAS. Getting an early start in managing apps will help prevent future problems and show the enterprise that IT understands the new world of mobile devices.
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This story, "How to shop for Enterprise Application Store solutions" was originally published by Network World.