The tablet is taking enterprise by storm. But enterprise is often stumped by the software challenges of adapting the iPad to solve specific business problems within the organization. The challenge usually falls to IT or a tech-savvy product marketer. Both of these roles are well-suited to the task. But even if you’re a savvy iPad user and you understand tech, there’re a few things worth knowing as you contemplate developing iPad-specific software for your organization.
Here are the top 3 frequently asked questions we hear:
1) I want an app for my enterprise. But I don’t want it available in the app store. What are my options?
This is easy to solve for. Apple’s iOS Developers Enterprise Program ($299/year) will allow you to distribute apps for in-house use without publishing them in the app store. The app is code-signed by your organization, hosted on your server, and can be downloaded by anyone within your company who has a link to execute the download. That link should be password protected using whatever standard security protocols your business uses. The app can be used on up to 1000 devices and, unlike apps created through the standard (non-enterprise) iOS developer program, enterprise apps aren’t subject to the Apple approval process (which can take 1-2 weeks).
2) I’m building for iPad. Can’t I get an iPhone app while I’m at it?
Yes and no. There’s some obvious overlap between apps for both devices. iPhone apps can be used on the iPad (though they’re sized for the iPhone, making them look pretty silly). And often some of the functionality created for the iPad can be adopted to the iPhone. But as is often the case, because you can doesn’t mean you should. The format of the iPad is designed for content viewing and consumption. The iPhone is designed for mobility and quick solutions to small problems. So while they share much in the way of technology and software, the use cases are entirely different. You’d probably not walk into a businesses meeting and run a presentation off of your iPhone. Similarly, you probably wouldn’t bring your iPad to dinner on the odd chance you need to find a bar nearby afterwards. So, net – net: What’s possible isn’t always sensible, so think carefully about realistic use cases before doubling down on an iPhone app.
3) How can I ensure our apps and our iPads are secure – without annoying the user?
You’ve got a host of options. First, all iPads should be password protected by default. Go into Settings > Password to set the password and the time lapse until the tablet locks up. Second, you can configure the iPad to force a “local wipe” if the passcode is rejected, say, 5 times. If that doesn’t satisfy, the iPad can further be configured for a remote wipe — deleting all content from the tablet in the event the device is lost or stolen.
Short of nuclear options, you should ensure that any enterprise-specific apps require a password to access. Decryption can be timed, requiring the user to re-enter his/her password if the app is inactive for a certain period of time. As to network security, the iPad intergrates easily with most any VPN and supports SSL and WPA2 security protocols. If you require a two-factor token, the iPad works with SecurID and CrytoCard.
Long story short: the iPad and its contents can be made as secure as any laptop or mobile device currently connected to your network.
What questions do you have? Tweet them to @storydesk or email us directly: email@example.com.
StoryDesk is an iPad sales tool that makes presentations, brochures and other marketing materials memorable and measurable.
Based in New York City, our clients include Ralph Lauren, BBC and other major companies, as well as startups and non-profits.