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IT ponders public vs. private app stores

As IT departments zero in on managing applications and data over devices, many find that the next step in maintaining control of company resources is to use an enterprise app store.

In the May issue of the Modern Mobility e-zine, managing editor Alyssa Wood looks at the changing dynamics of app stores. Consumers have long used public portals such as the Apple App Store and Google Play to find the apps they need for both personal and business use, but that isn’t ideal in a corporate environment. Public app stores only cater to one mobile platform, and it’s not easy for IT to monitor app usage.

Several enterprise mobility management vendors now offer private app stores as part of their suites. Private enterprise app stores can support multiple operating systems, which is especially useful for managing a bring your own device program. IT administrators get the added benefits of being able to track usage, deploy updates and manage access to company apps.

“I can do all of that remotely from my home,” said Michael Thompson, a consultant and Citrix engineer for a healthcare solutions provider that uses Citrix Storefront. He called the service “pretty kick-butt.”

Developing and deploying apps to public app stores is an alternative to these vendor offerings, but it can be a tricky undertaking. Apple and Google don’t make it easy to publish enterprise applications in their app stores, especially when it comes to the app testing process.

“It used to be almost impossible to get an app through the iTunes store unless you gave your first born to Apple and said, ‘Hey, publish my app,’” said Mike Nelson, a consultant and solutions architect at storage provider Atlantis Computing. “Now it’s a little easier.”

Does your organization have an enterprise app store? Tell us about your experience with private or public app store publishing in the comments.