3 Powerful Arguments for No-Code Security

Nikfar Khaleeli | Jan 28, 2020

Apps are not just for consumers anymore. Businesses are increasingly relying on apps to power internal line of business (LOB) functions. As the bring your own device (BYOD) trend continues to penetrate the corporate landscape, the “heavy lifting” for organizations is done by apps on their employees’ mobile devices. This might be great for productivity, but often these apps pose a security risk.

Since a BYOD-empowered employee works roughly three hours a week more than one without access to those resources 1 , you can understand why businesses are so keen on app development…and mobile app security. If we learned anything from the “watering hole” iOS attack, it’s that relying on the operating system’s built-in security isn’t enough. Instead, we must secure devices at the app level. This approach ensures that, in the event of a device or OS compromise, apps connecting to sensitive data are secure.

No-Code Embeds SDKs

All the Security, None of the Coding

No-code development has been a boon to LOB citizen developers because they can develop mobile apps at the speed of business. However, as with so many democratizing technology solutions, it’s crucial to make sure that critical functions are operating effectively. This is especially true of app security.

It’s important to fully understand Mobile Device Management (MDM), Mobile App Management (MAM), and Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) before continuing. MDM is a device-centric approach to enabling employees with mobile apps while maintaining security. This approach focuses on deploying security controls to the device which prevent the employee from taking potentially compromising actions on the device. In addition, MDM allows corporations more security features including: remote device wipe, as well as visibility to and control of user data on the device as a whole.

MAM provides a different focus than MDM, placing security controls at the app-level, as opposed to device. MAM allows the same device-level controls as MDM, but MAM embeds those controls in-app. In order to enable these controls on the app-level, those security policies must be embedded in the binary of the app. Typically, MAM is used for mobile programs that allow employees to utilize their own personal (BYO) devices.

UEM vendors secure endpoints including desktops, mobile devices, and mobile apps. To secure apps, they provide Software Development Kits (SDKs) for app-level security controls so corporate DevSecOps doesn’t have to create security protocols from scratch. While this can save developers some time, there is still a steep learning curve involved in mastering these SDKs well enough to provide security value to the organization. Plus, knowledge of one UEM SDK doesn’t necessarily translate to knowledge of other SDKs, forcing developers to learn the idiosyncrasies of each SDK before being able to embed the SDK into an app, in order to enable app-level security controls.

In order to enable MAM controls, the UEM's SDK must be integrated into the app. However, doing so requires extreme precision and knowledge about the app and the UEM's SDK. No-code solutions provide a clear opportunity for LOB citizen developers to participate in the deployment process, without needing to know the nuances of app security. No-code solutions provide a quick and easy way to embed the necessary security controls directly into an app, without any manual coding. Furthermore, no-code technology can facilitate the integration of SDKs that may not be compatible with the app's framework and embed an in-app VPN directly into the app, adding on to the controls and features that come in an SDK.

No-code solutions provide many benefits to enterprises enabling their employees with corporate-issued mobile apps, however there are 3 common use cases that are applicable to most organizations. 

Use Case 1 – Avoiding Vendor Lock-In

Because of the nature of UEM solutions and their associated SDKs, switching from one provider to another is no small feat. This task is prohibitively time- and labor-intensive that simply switching UEMs becomes extremely difficult, and most IT departments avoid switching, even when a particular UEM no longer meets their needs. No-code solutions mitigate the risk of getting "stuck" with one UEM and make the transition to another as easy as the click of a button.

Use Case 2 – Eliminate SDK-Imposed Development Constraints

Many SDKs have limitations on frameworks, protocols, and app functionality that can constrain the app development process. In order to secure an app with those SDKs, developers may have to develop in frameworks they may be less efficient in, using up more precious development resources. No-code solutions can eliminate these constraints, fill gaps in features (such as in-app VPN), and provide a way to embed SDKs in unsupported frameworks -- all while requiring no manual coding.

Use Case 3 – Secure Access from BYOD

Organizations that encourage BYOD usage see impressive annual savings in corporate-issued device costs. No wonder the BYOD trend is showing no sign of slowing down. Enabling secure access from BYO devices to corporate data, however, can be tricky. Implementing user-friendly and corporate-secure functions like in-app VPN are made simple with no-code technology. No-code solutions can not only integrate UEM SDKs to enable in-app security controls, but can also enable secure connection to on-premises resources.

Get More than the Gist – Read the eBook

This has been a broad, thousand-foot view of 3 common use cases for no-code technology. For a deep dive, read our eBook to learn how the challenges in these use cases were solved and the associated ROI from utilizing a no-code solution. Blue Cedar delivers no-code solutions that start at the network level, scoops up API calls others may miss, and provides support for all app frameworks, storage architectures and programming languages. Discover how this advantage can hasten your organization’s adoption of the BYOD landscape and scale your mobile program faster.

Get the eBook

1. Employees Say Smartphones Boost Productivity by 34 Percent. Frost & Sullivan Research.

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