Mobile security is becoming a top priority for IT professionals which, in turn, is impacting marketing and mobile sales teams.
According to a Good Technology Mobility Index report for Q1 2014, 75 percent of respondents said mobile devices represent the greatest risk of all potential IT security risks.
Recently, we learned that some IT departments are informing their marketing counterparts that if they want to equip their field sales force with a mobile app, whether on an iPad or another operating system, it needs to be created through in-house app development to ensure more effective security.
In the same Good Technology Mobility Index report, in-house app development rose 77 percent during Q1 2014, versus just 55 percent in Q4 2013.
Information security is an important topic and consideration for companies. However, controlling the development of the app is no guarantee to make your company’s data any safer than using an existing app platform offered by a third-party.
Expertise with Apps Matters
We work with marketing, sales, and IT departments in multiple industries to get their digital collateral distributed effectively, efficiently, and securely. When a business specializes in a service or product in a fast-developing field like mobile development, continuous development and improvement is critical.
That kind of expertise is hard to duplicate for an in-house development team concerned with multiple priorities and various IT needs of the business.
We have written about in-house app development before (When Should You Ditch Your DIY Sales App Project? and Developing iPad Sales Apps vs. Buying iPad Sales Apps: Which is better?).
It’s the right move for some companies, but not for others.
The Business Purpose of the App
We work with marketing, sales, and IT departments in multiple industries to get their digital collateral distributed effectively, efficiently, and securely.
Obviously, private financial data for instance needs a higher level of security than documents that are intended for customers and partners. Ease of access and sharing trumps the need for a full lock down of materials in this case.
The information added to your app determines how secure your mobile app needs to be.
Think about how art is displayed around the world.
Say you create a painting and it is placed in a coffee shop for display. You are probably not a big-time artist, so chances are your masterpiece won’t have heavy security measures protecting it.
A painting by Pablo Picasso will likely have different security measures.
First, it would be on display in a museum. There would be alarm triggers through the wall connected to the frame, security walking around the museum the painting is displayed in, security cameras and other measure to protect the painting.
Why the difference in security? Value.
Your company’s financial data, customer data and employee data would deserve a different level of mobile security than pieces of marketing collateral shared from a B2B sales app.
I’m sure much of your marketing collateral is already available on your public website, isn’t it?
You have to think about the purpose of your apps and what they will store. This will tell you how secure each app truly needs to be.
Testing in the Marketplace
Depending on the provider and app platform chosen , there can be an even more security measures than an in-house project.
For instance, if a provider uses Amazon services for digital storage and distribution, you need to feel comfortable with Amazon’s services and that the third party is using all the security measures that the Amazon platform provides.
Here’s an example from our experience: Since we have an approved app on the Salesforce.com App Exchange site for integrating FatStax, we underwent extensive security testing and actually needed to make some changes to our platform to conform to their security specifications.
Admittedly, it was a bit painful at the time. However, Salesforce.com is protecting their customers by checking out what their partners offer to customers. Validating by proxy, especially with leading cloud service providers is one way to assess your third party provider.
In some ways, an in-house team might not have the expertise or experience in the marketplace where the latest trends and threats need to be proactively addressed.
Don’t Let Security Sweep Your Sales App Away
Mobile security is crucial to keep your company thriving, so don’t get us wrong about that, but you need to examine what is potentially at risk with each of your systems.
Competitive analysis or product comparisons might be worth protecting more than a testimonial video.
There are collateral sharing apps for business on the market that take mobile security seriously.
In-house app development works for some business purposes, but choosing more security over accessibility can be overkill when it comes to distributing information to sales and service teams in the field.
Photo Credit: Pascal Poggi