4. Access control
Only users that are authorized should be able to download and install an app. Authorization can work off of a server side ACL (access control list) that is driven by user, role and designation and group authorizations. For example, an employee working in buildings and facility management should not be allowed to download a mobile app that is intended for sales operations.
5. Push notifications
Administrators should be able to send notifications using the push capability of the supported mobile platforms. The notifications alert the user about available updates for apps installed on the device.
6. Over-the-air updates
Both Android and iOS (5.x) now support OTA (over the air updates) for updating existing apps, installing patches and other maintenance related fixes. An enterprise app store should include a feature to push the updates to the device and notify users through the notification system on the device.
7. Device registration and management
An enterprise app store should include the database of users, devices and apps. This can also be done by using MDM software and integrating it with the app store. In an enterprise, a user may have multiple mobile devices. Similarly, devices may be shared with different users, each having a different account and profile on the device.
8. Administrative console, centralized management and control
An easy-to-use, Web-based administrative console is an essential feature that allows administrators to approve new apps or updates to existing ones. It also allows them to retire, archive and remove apps when necessary.
9. Identifying malicious code
Malicious software including Trojan apps are a big problem in public app stores, and an enterprise app store could also be susceptible to such attacks from an internal party like a disgruntled employee, or from the packaging of third-party software and services bundled with in-house enterprise apps. The app store should provide ways to identify, prevent and take down apps that do not adhere to the organization's code of conduct.
10. Publishing process
There should be a clear and simple process for submission, approval and withdrawal of apps that are intended for the app store. A well-defined set of guidelines should be published as to what are the acceptable policies for approval of apps. This is also an area where the company's best practices, polices and design guidelines can be validated and enforced.
Shane O'Neill covers Microsoft, Windows, Operating Systems, Productivity Apps and Online Services for CIO.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @smoneill. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Shane at firstname.lastname@example.org