Quickoffice's new office app caters to IT's control needs

A response to IT's demand for securable apps, the mobile office productivity suite limits file sharing to predetermined storage

If there's a Microsoft Office-compatible productivity suite that business users are likely to use on iOS or Android, it's Quickoffice Pro. A close second overall to Apple's iWork suite for iOS, it bests iWork in some key areas, and I personally use both Quickoffice and iWork because of their differing strengths and weaknesses. But if a business wants a common office productivity app across iOS and Android, Quickoffice is the best.

So when I learned that Quickoffice -- that's the company's name as well as its product name -- was launching an enterprise version of Quickoffice today, I was intrigued. When I learned the details, I knew that the product's enterprise features would excite many IT organizations.

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IT can buy Quickoffice ProSelect HD preconfigured for the permitted file-sharing integration with other apps from the Apple Business App Store -- its volume licensing service for iOS -- and not from the regular, user-facing App Store. IT can determine whether Quickoffice documents are sharable via email, social networks, cloud storage services, and even Wi-Fi. Thus, IT can restrict document sharing in its environment how it wants, then distribute that specific version of Quickoffice ProSelect HD to all company iOS users.

Quickoffice also offers "native iOS data encryption." That support for native iOS data encryption may seem nonsensical; after all, iOS automatically encrypts everything. (Users need to use a passcode or password, of course, to secure the device.) But it's not quite so simple. iOS's automatic encryption protects iOS itself and data in Apple's apps. Data stored in other apps' sandboxes is encrypted only if the apps use iOS's data-protection API to let iOS encrypt their contents. Quickoffice ProSelect HD uses that API to encrypt its files, and that's a good thing.

Most appealing is the SaveBack feature that gets around the limitation that results from Apple's sandboxed approach to data management. iOS has no visible file system, instead storing files within each app's protected sandbox. That ensures viruses and malware can't use files as a vector, but it also means files can't be accessed by multiple apps from a common location. Instead, apps can be programmed to allow copying of their files to another compatible app, in what iOS calls its Open In facility.

Normally if you're working on a company presentation or report on an iPad or iPhone in Quickoffice, you have to load the file into Quickoffice and somehow share it back, usually via email, iTunes, or one of the many cloud storage services that Quickoffice supports. But that leads to file duplication and possible version confusion. The SaveBack capability lets Quickoffice ProSelect HD save the changes to a document back to the original location, such as a storage server or cloud storage service.

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