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How to Solve the Enterprise Mobile BYOD Conundrum: Use Private Cloud to Go Mobile…Securely
by Diane Mueller

Diane Mueller, September 12, 2012

Enterprise IT leadership faces the Mobile BYOD Conundrum every day: How to deliver enterprise applications securely to a disparate workforce demanding corporate data access via an ever-changing array of individual mobile platforms?

Enabled in part by the flexible power of cloud computing, enterprise stakeholders now expect to engage with their enterprise cloud applications in the same way they access their consumer cloud applications…on their own devices, whether iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry, you name it.

Whatever the platform, it’s no longer feasible—or even desirable—for enterprise IT to impose single-device mandates across an organization. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer once famously “stomped” on an employee’s iPhone. But that didn’t stop Microsoft employees from bringing their iPhones (and Android phones, and BlackBerry phones) to work.

Despite what some CIOs might argue, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) should be encouraged, not discouraged. The real-world enterprise doesn’t demand its employees carry both a personal and a work smartphone. The real-world enterprise can support secure cloud application delivery over that plethora of mobile platforms, and its employees are happier and (just as importantly) more productive as a result.

Enterprise employees are increasingly accessing employer systems and cloud-hosted data from both browser-based and native mobile applications running on their personal mobile devices. Enterprise mobile applications must now be designed and developed to deploy on any platform, regardless of device-proprietary firmware. Enterprise IT teams must make their in-house applications run on many mobile devices, while ensuring the security of their corporate mobile application data. Oh, and they’re also tasked with protecting the endpoints on the server side of those mobile applications.

Enterprise cloud computing software development companies are addressing the Mobile BYOD Conundrum. Ireland-based mobile cloud developer FeedHenry has teamed with ActiveState to provide a highly scalable, secure solution to the Mobile BYOD Conundrum. The two firms have married their cloud technologies: FeedHenry’s mobile application development and deployment environment pairs with ActiveState’s Stackato private Platform as a Service (PaaS). The integrated solution lets enterprise customers develop, deploy, and manage both mobile and web enterprise applications within a unified private cloud that can run on any stack (like VMware, AWS, OpenStack, CloudStack, or HP Cloud Services).

Node HTML5

How it works

In the joint ActiveState/FeedHenry model, the Stackato private PaaS provides an enterprise-ready mobile cloud architecture that hosts application server-side code and secures mobile applications’ data stores. Stackato mitigates risk: It connects data endpoints securely and manages data delivery only to applications authorized to receive it.

The FeedHenry development environment enables enterprise developers to develop once, then deploy to any device. FeedHenry Studio is available as a hosted service, or can be installed within a corporate firewall on a private cloud.

Pushing mobile apps to the private cloud with FeedHenry and Stackato is a three-step process: Develop, Deploy, Deliver.

1. Develop

A FeedHenry developer can create mobile apps using common HTML5/JavaScript toolkits (such as PhoneGap, Sencha Touch, jQuery Mobile, and HP Enyo). That same developer can also build hybrid applications using native code components paired with HTML5 features.

Once an enterprise developer has coded an application in FeedHenry Studio, that developer then builds binary executable versions of the client application for the target mobile device platforms.

Code once in FeedHenry Studio Build for any device with FeedHenry

2. Deploy

Our enterprise developer next deploys the application back-end (server-side code shared by all the associated mobile client-side applications) to a private enterprise cloud, effectively establishing ActiveState’s Stackato PaaS as a Backend as a Service (BaaS) for that application. This can be done with a few simple scriptable FeedHenry client commands. The application back-end is now targeted and staged in the Stackato-enabled private cloud, and can be managed and monitored via the Stackato Web Management Console.

Deploy with Stackato Run on every iPhone

3. Deliver

Once the application back-end has been set up on the Stackato private cloud, an enterprise content owner can deliver over-the-air updates. Server-side business logic can be updated dynamically without the need to push an updated app binary to the client side. In this way, cloud-based mobile applications can distribute data to mobile workforces (or even customers) without risk of service disruption.

Enterprise employees will continue to bring their own devices to work. The forward-thinking enterprise can encourage them to do so. And that’s a solution to the Mobile BYOD Conundrum that will make everybody happy.

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Diane Mueller is a Cloud Evangelist at ActiveState. She has been designing & implementing financial applications at Fortune 500 corporations for over 20 years. Diane has been actively involved in development efforts of XBRL Open Standard (http://www.xbrl.org) since 1999.