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Why App Management Is Crucial for Business Security

Tristen Cooper

Designers Drawing Website Ux App Development.

Applications are a very important part of your business’s workflow. In fact, the average small business has 172 apps, and the average large enterprise has as many as 664 apps. Your workers likely rely on apps for a variety of key business processes, as well as internal and external communication.

Because apps are such an important part of your business operations, a robust application management process is essential. App management is the process of maintaining your applications for the entirety of their lifecycle. Here’s why app management is essential for business security.

Key Takeaways

  • App management involves selecting the right apps for your organization, monitoring them throughout their lifecycle, and completing important maintenance tasks.
  • App management is an ongoing process that requires regular maintenance and 24/7 monitoring.
  • For businesses with in-house development teams, application lifecycle management will help with the design, development, and implementation of new programs.
  • Application management is essential for keeping your tech stack secure and responding to bugs before they get out of control.
  • A managed IT service provider can help growing businesses develop an effective app management strategy.

What is App Management?

App management is the complex and ongoing process of implementing, maintaining, and monitoring the applications your organization uses. This process is proactive and happens constantly, rather than reacting to specific IT incidents. 

App management teams work with stakeholders throughout their organizations to make important app-related decisions, keep the back end running effectively, and improve the end-user experience.

Mobile application management is an important component of the broader app management process. With the prevalence of remote and hybrid work arrangements, many teams rely heavily on mobile apps to get work done. 

Mobile device management (MDM) and mobile app management help keep your organization safe online, no matter where your employees are working from. This is particularly important if employees use personal devices for work matters.

Application lifecycle management focuses on managing each app from implementation through the end of its life cycle. This process is done in five key stages.

  • Planning and design: Your team identifies a need for a new application and works together to design an application concept.
  • Development: Your application development teams take the initial app concept and bring it to life.
  • Testing: Your development teams test the app for functionality, security, and user experience, making adjustments as needed.
  • Deployment: The app is deployed across the organization. The IT team installs the app, sets up appropriate user permissions, and configures it to fit your work environment.
  • End-of-life: The app management team continues to provide support for app users on an ongoing basis. When the app is no longer necessary, they will take the app out of service, taking care to protect sensitive data and keep networks secure. They will also help users transition to replacement apps.

This approach is best for organizations that have their own in-house development teams, or can outsource to third-party software development services. However, even if you don’t create your own applications, your organization can still benefit from application performance management.

Application performance management includes a variety of ongoing tasks. These include app updates, monitoring, and maintenance, as well as regular compliance and security checks. Application performance management also includes optimization as your organization scales IT operations and your needs change. 

Finally, your app management team will provide training and support to users throughout your organization to provide the best possible end-user experience.

Why is app management important for your business security?

Cyber attacks target businesses of all sizes across a wide variety of industries. Many cybercriminals use apps to find their targets and compromise their systems. Your apps contain a wide variety of valuable organizational data, and if it isn’t properly protected, it could leave your organization very vulnerable. App management is essential to protecting your business from devastating cybersecurity attacks.

App management supports a secure environment throughout the entire lifecycle of your business apps. In the early stages of implementation and development, app management ensures that your entire software stack is built with your team’s security needs in mind. 

Your security needs will vary depending on your industry, your product, and the size of your team. App management ensures that your software applications are configured to meet your security needs from the beginning.

The application management process also includes ongoing monitoring and maintenance to keep your apps secure. When a potential security risk arises, your app management team can quickly troubleshoot and find a solution, such as an application patch or update. This prevents security risks from escalating and potentially affecting your customers. 

Your team will also need to implement version control as you conduct updates, which will also help mitigate security risks.

Application management teams can also help train employees throughout your organization about how to use your app safely. This includes training your team on new features, making them aware of security risks, and educating them on security best practices. 

If your team works remotely or has a BYOD (bring your own device) policy, you should also train them on how to use your apps on popular mobile devices, such as Apple iPhones and Android smartphones, safely.

When an application reaches the end of its life, app management ensures that your data is protected as you transition to a new solution. This means that your team will secure your application data before it goes offline, remove user access as needed, and move relevant data to a new app configuration.

App Management Strategies

App management is a holistic process that touches on many different aspects of your IT resources and strategy. Your app development process and management strategies should be completely customized to suit your long-term goals. 

Here are some of the top app management strategies to implement across your organization.

  • Lifecycle management: Implement ongoing lifecycle management to ensure that you are always using the best possible tech stack for your needs. Your team should conduct regular assessments to determine where each app is in its lifecycle and identify apps that need to be repurposed or retired. You should also look for opportunities to implement and develop new applications based on your business growth.
  • Performance monitoring: This is the process of monitoring each application to make sure it maintains consistent performance levels. This will help you identify and resolve performance issues promptly. You can also use this information to reallocate IT resources as needed and streamline your systems. Many aspects of performance monitoring can be automated.
  • User training: User training will help your team and your partners make the most of your tech stack. It will also help them better understand cybersecurity best practices to keep your systems safe. User training could look like creating application guides, hosting interactive training sessions, and maintaining an app-specific help desk.
  • Disaster recovery planning: Have a plan in place for how you’ll address unexpected app-related challenges when they occur. These could include cyberattacks or app malfunctions. Having a plan in place will help you respond more quickly and prevent these issues from escalating.
  • Vendor management: Most businesses work with at least a few third-party apps. If this is the case for you, develop a vendor management strategy for safety and efficiency. Start by developing service-level agreements, or SLAs, to define your expectations for each software provider. Then, work with your third-party app providers to manage regular updates and customer support.
  • Feedback loops: Find ways to solicit actionable feedback from your app users. This will help you improve your app management strategy and provide a better user experience. For small businesses, this could be as simple as having in-person conversations with your team members to learn more about their experience. On a larger scale, this could require more complex surveys and feedback forms.

How Can a Managed IT Service Help?

Managed IT service providers (MSPs) can help you develop an app management strategy that suits your business needs. MSPs are IT experts who offer third-party services to support your in-house IT efforts. An MSP can take the place of an IT department for small businesses, or partner with your existing in-house IT experts.

MSPs will help you identify which apps are necessary for your business operations and determine how best to implement and configure them. An MSP can also handle tedious ongoing application monitoring and maintenance, giving your in-house team more time to focus on complex challenges.

Your MSP will also help you address security and compliance concerns across a wide range of apps. They will work with you to make sure each app is compliant with industry security standards and data storage laws. MSPs are also highly familiar with the most recent security threats and will help you address them in your app management strategy.