Today Appdome is announcing a tool intended to make it easier to add AppConfig Community best practice mobile app management features directly into apps. Appdome is somewhat unique in our space, as they sit in between EMM vendors and app creators. Support for AppConfig best practices could give them more visibility. Concurrently, Appdome is joining the AppConfig community.
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Before we dive in, if you want to brush up on MAM topics like SDKs, app wrapping, and AppConfig, take a look at this three-part series on the topic.
You can get a deeper look at Appdome from this earlier article, but essentially, their secret sauce is a process for automatically integrating third-party SDKs and other security features into mobile apps, using a process they call “Fusion.” You can think of this as something along the lines of turning an SDK into app wrapper, though they don’t call it app wrapping, since that’s such a weighted term.
They have partnerships with various management and security SDK providers, including BlackBerry and Pulse Secure, and they also provide some of their own security features for customers to add into apps. The idea is that ISVs or enterprises can use Appdome as single step to integrate whatever SDKs or Appdome features they need, and more recently, Appdome added the ability to host apps for ISVs.
The AppConfig Community
The AppConfig Community advocates for several different best practices relating to MAM features that can be controlled via standard MDM protocols.
Some of these MAM features are based on frameworks at the operating system level, using the work/personal data separation and MAM features that have been part of Android enterprise and iOS for the last few years. Supporting these features is mostly a matter of making sure that your MDM server is up to date on all the latest OS updates.
Even with AppConfig, other MAM capabilities still have to be implemented directly into apps manually, but AppConfig addresses these, too, since app-level MAM features can expose configuration controls to an MDM server. (On iOS, this done using Managed App Configuration, and on the Android side, this is known as either App Restrictions or Managed Configurations.)
Bringing Appdome and AppConfig together
With today’s announcement, Appdome is taking some of these manual app-level features and putting them in a module that can then be integrated into apps automatically, using their “Fusion” process. These features will then be controllable via any MDM server, using the AppConfig best practices as described previously.
They’re launching this with support for data at rest encryption, clipboard and screen capture controls, jailbreak and root detection, and in-app passcodes; more features are coming soon. Appdome will also include a few other components that they put in all the apps they fuse, including code obfuscation, anti-tampering and debugging, checksum validation, and integrity checking.
A step towards easier MAM?
The end result is that enterprise and ISV developers should have an easier way of implementing AppConfig-compliant features in their apps, and this can be can be done after the app is compiled. (Again, just like app wrapping.)
What’s interesting is that most MAM SDKs and app wrapping tools are proprietary and produce app-level features that can only be managed by one EMM platform. Appdome can already integrate the SDKs from several EMM and security partners, but of course this takes time to build up. However, by implementing AppConfig-compliant MAM features, Appdome can now be used to create apps that can be managed by any vendor that’s part of the AppConfig Community—or really, any MDM server that supports managed app configuration and app restriction APIs. This should help make Appdome immediately applicable to a lot more customers.
I’ve always been a fan of any tools that make MAM easier or work across multiple vendors, so I like what I’m hearing from Appdome.