Apple

MuirWebs develops private app store option

Erik Eckel introduces one solution to the "app store problem" for those in enterprise IT who need more control in software management -- the private app store.

One complaint enterprise IT departments consistently raise regarding Mac software deployment is the inherent dependency upon Apple's app store. Technology departments understandably have reservations about surrendering software selection, purchasing, distribution, and updates to Apple. Soon Microsoft will enter the fray, too, when its Windows 8 OS introduces Microsoft's own software purchasing and distribution engine.

MuirwWebs  aims to wrest control

MuirWebs seeks to provide enterprise environments with the ability to build their own on-demand app stores. Certainly, the company presents an intriguing proposition: use its functionality to implement a private app store.

The benefits are numerous. Companies can specify application selection, improve compliance, lower costs, and more.

Application selection

Leveraging a private application store, enterprise organizations can design custom app stores that dictate which programs users may access. Firms can eliminate apps they don't wish for users to see or access, while selecting and including only those programs intended for organizational use.

Enforce policies

Instead of depending upon written guidelines to govern user behavior, organizations can dictate which applications are loaded and by which users. Such policy enforcement wrests control from third-party app store providers and returns software management tasks to the organization.

Flexible app store models

MuirWebs' technology supports third-party app submission. The organization can dedicate specific staff to approving and provisioning new applications. The store supports apps for desktop, mobile and cloud use, provides advanced management and reporting tools, and a variety of commerce models including direct ecommerce. MuirWebs' functionality also includes integration with social media networks to help alert users to important new software programs.

Will it work for your organization?

Obviously, deciding to deploy a private application store is a decision larger organizations must make after careful consideration. Firms must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of developing their own software selection and distribution network versus simply outsourcing the responsibility to another entity.

Bringing app management in-house, on some level, seems to run counter to industry trends in which firms increasingly appear to be offloading application purchasing, distribution, and management tasks to Apple (or Microsoft, again, with its impending Windows 8 OS that will include its own app store). Yet, some enterprise organizations may well find the additional control, policy enforcement, and cost management benefits that come with maintaining a private app store justifies the costs of building and managing one of their own.

About

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

2 comments
Hey_Joe
Hey_Joe

This sounds promising but currently purchases from the App Store are individual purchases. They're not really configured for enterprise app re-deployment and (last time I checked) don't have any easy way to buy multiple licenses and let users download individually with their own AppleID. And while you state this trend is counter to industry trends, that pendulum will eventually swing back towards in-sourcing IT especially if your firm is security focused. Honestly, I think that if an organization is looking at this option for BYO Apple products, they should also consider JAMF's Casper Suite. It's a full management solution akin to SCCM for Windows but can provision, deploy, manage and push apps and policies to OSX & iOS devices better than any other product on the market.

Antony Awaida
Antony Awaida

Erik: thanks for the excellent article. On item I would like to add is that for most PCs in enterprises are locked down and users have no admin rights. A private app store enables users to benefit from productivity enhancing apps - yet IT remains firmly in control. A win-win....

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