Tag: apps

Only 10 percent of cloud apps are secure

Every silver has a cloudy liningNew research has found that only one in ten cloud apps are secure enough for enterprise use.

According to a report from cloud experts Netskope, organisations are employing an average of over 600 business cloud apps, despite the majority of software posing a high risk of data leak.

More than 15 percent of logins for business cloud apps used by organisations had been breached by hackers.

One in five businesses in the Netskope cloud actively used more than 1,000 cloud apps, and over eight per cent of files in corporate-sanctioned cloud storage apps were in violation of DLP policies, source code, and other policies surrounding confidential and sensitive data.

A quarter of all files are shared with one or more people outside of the organisation, and of external users with links to shared content, almost 12 percent have access to 100 or more files.

Netskope CEO Sanjay Beri said that 2014 left an indelible mark on security – between ongoing high-profile breaches and the onslaught of vulnerabilities like Shellshock and Heartbleed, CSOs and CISOs had more on their plate than ever.

“These events underscore the sobering reality that many in the workforce have been impacted by data breaches and will subsequently use compromised accounts in their work lives, putting sensitive information at risk,” he added.

The research also found that the most insecure apps were primarily linked with marketing, finance and human resource software, while cloud storage, social and IT/app management programmes had the lowest proportion of insecure apps.

“Employees today have shifted from thinking of apps as a nice-to-have to a must-have, and CISOs must continue to adapt to that trend to secure their sensitive corporate and customer data across all cloud apps, including those unsanctioned by IT,” Beri continued.

Google Drive, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Gmail were among the apps investigated.

Apple gets into enterprise bed with IBM

ibm_appleApple and IBM have signed a deal over the Pad and the iPhone, reflecting greater use of the devices in the corporate marketplace.

Under the deal, IBM will release what it described as the first wave of IBM MobileFirst for the iOS operating system.

The applications also support web services and big data and analytic abilities to the iPad and iPhone.  IBM said  MobileFirst for iOS is aimed at enterprise sized companies in banking, retail, insurance, financial services, telecomms, governments and airlines.

Customers who have already signed up include Citi, Air Canada and Spring.

Philip Schiller, a senior VP of Apple marketing, said: “The business world has gone mobile and Apple and IBM are bringing together the.. technology with the smartest data and analytics to help businesses define how work gets done.”

The apps are intended for secure environments, linked to core enterprise processes and analytics.

Apps include Plan Flight and Passenger for airlines, Advise and Grow for the banking sector; Retention for insurance companies; Incident Aware for law enforcement; Sales Assist for Retail and Expert Tech for the telecomms market.

Digital content worth $57 billion plus

ukflagThe worth of digital content in 2013 amounted to $57 billion, and that’s just for seven countries surveyed.

According to market research company IHS, global spending on digital games, apps and online movies was up by 30 percent from the 2012 figure of $44 billion. It looked at markets in the UK, USA, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Russia and France.

Online movies saw growth of 21 percent in 2013, with a worth of $8 billion.  The US is the clear leader in digital content spend, but there were large gains in game app spend in Japan and South Korea.

The UK has one of the strongest online music markets, said IHS. And it’s also the leading European country for total digital content spend and spend per capita.  While there was a strong growth in game apps in 2013 in the UK, that sector didn’t exceed the spend on online music.

The USA has the widest spread of content spend and the most devices per capita across the broadest range of devices, said IHS.

Microsoft study sheds light on UK app economy

smartphones-genericMicrosoft has revealed the results of its new study into the state of the UK app landscape and it’s crediting “brave developers” with creating a dynamic little economy. App developers aren’t just IT professionals, there are plenty of hobbyists coding out of their homes and they are joining the fun.

However, it’s not all smooth sailing. Low return on investment is a big concern, as only 51 percent of apps were achieving a reasonable return. App development also requires plenty of new skills and 86 percent of developers believe the skill set is much different from five to ten years ago. Other challenges include the need to design cross-platform apps and potential problems with security and privacy.

Despite these challenges, Britain’s app economy is thriving and 95 percent of developers are optimistic about the future of their niche. Another 86 percent believe current apps have only scratched the surface, while 83 believe demand for custom apps will increase over the next few years.

“The ecosystem of UK developers is growing rapidly, with professionals, hobbyists and a new breed of those responsible for commissioning applications bringing their own unique blend of passion and potential,” says Anand Krishnan, General Manager, Developer and Platform Group, Microsoft Limited. “It’s a world of opportunity – and harsh new challenges. The days of developing for a single platform, a single form factor, even a single kind of device are over.”

Although there’s no shortage of optimism, it’s probably a good idea to be cautious. Some developers were talked to believe app development is slowly transforming into a bubble. As mobile apps mature, there will be less room for newcomers and new ideas. Furthermore, the cost of developing mobile apps is going down, as coders in traditional outsourcing markets gain the necessary skills and start to compete at a fraction of the cost of western devs.

Windows devs struggle with mobile compatibility

acer-w3Windows app developers are gagging to code for mobile platforms but are finding the cost and complexity associated with the transition a barrier, according to a report.

Dimensional Research asked 1,337 Windows developers around the world for their views on going mobile.

According to the research, there is great demand for development, but delivery itself is challenging, revealing a disconnect between the interest in apps and the tools available to actually make them.

85 percent of the respondents had received requests for mobile apps. The most requested platform by far was for Android support.

Using HTML5 and JavaScript have not proved the way forward. Most respondents understood that native apps are ultimately the best for end users, while three quarters said using HTLM5 and JavaScript caused niggling challenges.

Senior researcher at Dimensional Research, Diane Hagglund, said that Windows developers see the need to bring their experiences to mobile. But “today’s development options either limit the end user or result in costly and complex native development across multiple platforms”.

“These Windows developers clearly need better options,” Hagglund said

Android tablets still lack tons of iPad apps

NexusSales of Android smartphones and cheap tablets are skyrocketing, but the same isn’t true of high-end Android tablets. While many models feature impressive hardware that could easily go toe to toe with the iPad, the app ecosystem just isn’t there yet. 

According to Canalys, out of the top 50 paid and free iPad apps in Apple’s US App Store, 30 percent are nowhere to be found on Google’s Play Store. Another 18 percent were available, but they were not optimized for tablets, which means they look and feel like oversized phone apps. Just 52 percent were available through the Play Store, optimized and ready for tablets.

“Quite simply, building high-quality app experiences for Android tablets has not been among many developers’ top priorities to date,” said Canalys senior analyst Tim Shepherd. “That there are over 375,000 apps in the Apple App Store that are designed with iPad users in mind, versus just a fraction of this – in the low tens of thousands – available through Google Play, underscores this point.”

Canalys expects all this to change, as the user base grows and Google introduces improvements to the Play Store. However, Google simply has to do more to support developers to invest time and money in high-quality Android apps for tablets. Since pricey Android tablets don’t sell well, the user base will remain limited. Most people who buy Android tablets go for cheap and small models, hence it is safe to assume that they are not willing to invest in premium apps and services, either.

The other problem facing Android developers is fragmentation. Apple developers need to design tablet apps for just two screen resolutions and form factors, both of which use the same aspect ratio. They don’t face nearly as many as many challenges as Android developers, who have to deal with dozens of different resolutions, form factors, Android versions, APIs and application processors.

Worse, at the end of the day Android developers have a very limited market for bespoke tablet apps, as the user base is still small and it’s growing from the ground up, i.e. growth is coming from low-end tablets that weren’t designed with anything serious in mind.

MS Office appears on Android phones

redmondMicrosoft has announced Office Mobile will now be available to Microsoft 365 subscribers on Android.

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced Office Mobile for iPhone, meaning Office software is now available on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, as well as on desktops and laptops.

Existing 365 customers will get access to Office Mobile for Android at no extra cost. It opens up Word, Excel and PowerPoint document reading and editing to the platform.

For now, it’s only available in the United States but more regions are promised in the coming weeks, in 33 languages and 117 markets.

Office Mobile for Android can be found on the Google Play Store, but users will need a qualifying Office 365 subscription, including Office 365 Home Premium and Office 365 ProPlus.

The idea is to sync up mobile work with work at the office or at home. Editing documents in Office Mobile for Android will save changes made in the cloud, and these changes will be accessible from whichever other device or platform customers use. A single subscription is available for up to five mobile devices, excluding Windows Phone which has the app pre-installed.

This app is designed for the phone in mind. We have asked a Microsoft spokesperson if tablet optimised versions will be made available, but for now Microsoft is recommending tablet users go to Office Web Apps.

“We built Office Mobile for Android phones to ensure a great Office experience when using a small screen device,” an FAQ reads. “Therefore you will not be able to download and install Office Mobile for Android phones on an Android tablet from the Google Play Store”.

It’s likely the varied screen sizes have something to do with this.

Anyone interested in trying the app out can sign up for a 30 day Office 365 trial at http://www.office.com.

Ingram Micro NZ launches reseller app

ingram-mico-hqIngram Micro has rolled out a new app designed to help Kiwi resellers respond more quickly to customer needs, while at the same time making their lives just a bit easier. The app is available for iOS and Android devices, no word on WP8 or BB10 support just yet.

The apps allow resellers to access Ingram’s e-commerce offering on the go, order products and track shipments in real time, browse products, compare prices and check availability. The app also features a few clever tricks borrowed from consumerish shopping apps. For example, users can scan a bar code using a smartphone camera and the app will check the product details and Ingram Micro’s stock information, reports Reseller NZ.

The apps can also be used to impress customers, by displaying the offer on mobile devices without revealing dealer pricing, which sounds a lot more convenient than doing it on a notebook.

Ingram Micro says it will continue to upgrade the app over the coming months, but so far feedback has been largely positive. Now all they have to do is roll out similar apps tailored for other regional or national markets.

Free games to lead app downloads

dandroidFree to play games are set to drive app ecosystems, leading the charge of the 160 billion plus consumer apps Juniper Research expects to be downloaded by 2017.

In Juniper Research’s report, Future App Stores: Discovery, Monetisation & Ecosystem Analysis 2013 – 2018, the analyst house found the majority of downloads will be in the games category. 40 percent or more downloads are expected to come from this segment.

We can expect an increase in social network functions in these games – not only in terms of leaderboards but to promote the apps themselves.

But developers are still working out the kinks when it comes to monetisation. There is a downward pressure on pricing which often means paid-for apps need to be enormous hits to get the pay-off from investment. This will, Juniper thinks, lead to more free to play games as it becomes the most popular option at the point of download among consumers.

The app store model itself, according to Juniper, has already cut out network operators from grabbing their share of the profit.

Report author Siân Rowlands said that it’s still possible to squeeze cash from customers through carrier billing, which can be popular for customers without a bank account. “However, operators must realise they won’t see as great a revenue share as they did during the pre-app store era,” Rowlands said.

It’s predicted that just five percent of apps will be paid for at the point of download in 2017 – less than 6.1 percent this year.

Kids buy apps and raid parents’ accounts

Apple, iPadChildren are costing their parents cash, running up bills on apps and in-app purchases on their tablets and smartphones.

According to research conducted by Microsoft, parents have spent on average an extra £341 on their bills, unaware of their kids’ app spending, totalling over £30 million for parents across the nation.

Over a quarter of the 2000 parents asked admitted to falling foul of their kids making unauthorised app and in-app purchases, with 83 percent of these parents suffering from an increased monthly bill as a result.

Just over one in ten parents said that they were concerned they were unable to pay the extra cost, while  a third have resorted to hiding their smartphone and tablet from their kids.

Nonetheless, 17 percent of UK parents still share their smartphone and tablet passwords with their children, with 23.5 percent of parents not having a security password at all.

Eight year olds are running up the largest app costs, having added on average an extra £59.59 to their parents’ smartphone or tablet bill.  And, demonstrating the widespread issue of ‘accidental’ buys by very young children, well over a third of kids aged four and under have made app and in-app purchases without permission.

The research reveals that fun-loving kids are spending on average three hours and 21 minutes a week playing smartphone games and apps. Surprisingly, one in ten parents give their children free rein to access whatever content they want and over half link their smartphone or tablet to a subscription service or direct debit account that can be easily accessed.

As well as the financial implications of the unsupervised use of a parent’s smartphone or tablet, there is also the risk of social media pranks. Over a quarter of kids have sneakily updated a parent’s Facebook status, and one in five updated their Twitter status.

Potentially causing a career limiting move, one in ten kids have also hijacked a parent’s Facebook profile to comment on or insult their boss.

Microsoft said its Windows Phone 8 handsets could help parents reduce the likelihood of suffering ‘bill shock’, providing a Kid’s Corner feature which prohibits in-app purchases and only lets kids roam around in the specific area.