A smarter way to manage applications on employee devices

Author: Martin McGregor, Co-founder and CEO, Devicie

Managing applications at scale is complex and is often associated with high costs, manual effort and skilled resources. As organisations grow, so too does the need to manage their applications, and to ensure they are continuously up to date and compliant.

Applications are a really important component of any organisation. They give employees the tools they need to collaborate, carry out or submit their work. Installing an application on one device is one thing – anyone can do it. Open your PC or mobile, click install, enter your settings and you’re good to go. When you’re notified of an update, you click ‘update’. Done.

But what if you’re the IT pro tasked with installing multiple, sometimes complex, applications across multiple devices for multiple employees? How do you ensure everyone is using the same, up-to-date version and how do you stay ahead of any security vulnerabilities? That’s just the security component. What happens when your IT service desk is overwhelmed with frustrated employees, who are having issues collaborating because everyone has different versions, or applications aren’t working full stop? Or even worse, what happens when you have hundreds of employee-installed applications out there in the wild, not visible, unpatched, and adding to your security risks?

A classic example is companies that have grown quickly and reached a tipping point where managing applications ad-hoc has become unmanageable. For some organisations, at this point, they’ll simply stop managing applications altogether. It is deemed “too hard” and, after all, business needs to go on. Other companies throw more money at the service desk, who literally go to each device, one by one, to check that applications are correctly installed, up-to-date and functional. However, this quickly becomes too expensive to maintain and, before long, application management is put in the “too hard” basket for them as well.

At this point, application packaging becomes a no brainer.

In short, application packaging enables your IT team to send applications to employee devices over a trusted network, saving employees from doing it themselves. Employees save the time of installing and configuring the applications and can focus on the work they’re primed to do.

Packaging alone doesn’t cut it

But application packaging is not a silver bullet solution.

I recently met a senior IT professional who told me he spends up to two days every week packaging applications for his organisation of 100 employees. Why? Because hiring an external consultant was too expensive. Some applications, particularly the more complex ones, take up to three days each to package. And when an update becomes available, he needs to repackage it all over again. It’s no wonder so many IT teams stop packaging applications altogether.

Other companies try application packaging services. These can be great for packaging standard applications and ensuring they’re kept up to date. However, they fall down in both customising applications for a specific organisation and also when applications are complex. A lot of these services cannot package industry-specific or internally-built applications, which are often most critical to the organisation.

There’s no doubting the complexities around application management, and while packaging fixes part of the problem, there’s more to successfully managing applications at scale than just packaging them.

The power of device security automation

Automating application management, including the packaging, overcomes the security, compliance and productivity barriers that packaging alone cannot.

I’ve always been amazed by the amount of time IT and security professionals spend on managing applications, when I know their time could be better spent elsewhere.

Where automation makes sense, it should be fully utilised, especially if it means your IT team and employees can invest their expertise into more meaningful projects.

This is one of the fundamental ideals that underpins the Devicie philosophy.

Devicie automates application management at scale, enabling organisations to overcome what has traditionally been a major IT bottleneck.

For new applications, Devicie automates the standardisation of common configuration settings. Applications reside in the organisation’s company portal, where they are made available to employees to self-install. Automatic installation is also available, by assigning them to a particular role group in the organisation.

Devicie works with organisations to package, onboard, and manage custom or bespoke applications, reducing days of effort for IT to a matter of hours.

As soon as application updates are made available, Devicie automates deployment across the entire fleet of end-user devices, helping to mitigate the threat from unpatched vulnerabilities.

Not only does this save time on configuring settings, but it removes the need to hand over administrative privileges to end users, thereby eliminating the risk of a security breach involving privilege escalation and assuring compliance.

Device also makes it easier for organisations to achieve and prove their compliance across several security standards, including PCI-DSS, ISO 27001, ASD Essential 8, and SOC2; the dashboard provides fast access to reports and security information, gathering evidence for compliance around the clock and ensuring compliance.

Application packaging should be a key ingredient in the security matrix of every modern organisation. Used as part of a comprehensive, automated end-user device management strategy, it can take any organisation to an enviable level of security maturity.

Security benefits are just the beginning. You will also see significantly lower device security and management costs, reduced risk of human error and increased operational efficiency. The only reason employees will be calling your IT service desk about their device will be to say thanks for making it so effortless to keep them secure, up-to-date and productive.

If you’d like to learn more about how Devicie works, including application management as a service, you might like to check out this on-demand webinar overview.

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