In this article, we highlight the security risks associated with app sideloading in an enterprise context and how mobile device management (MDM) can help minimize these risks.
As digitalization continues, companies are increasingly turning to mobile technologies to optimize workflows and improve collaboration. Mobile applications play a vital role in this – they enable employees to access data and complete tasks from anywhere.
But with the increasing use of mobile apps also comes an increasing number of security risks. In particular, app sideloading, the downloading and installation of apps outside the official app stores, poses a major threat to the security of corporate data. Companies are thus faced with the challenge of exploiting the benefits of mobile apps without jeopardizing the security of business data.
What is sideloading?
Sideloading refers to installing apps on a mobile device outside the device’s official app store, such as the Google Play Store for Android or the Apple App Store for iOS.
While it is relatively easy to install apps in the form of APK files from third-party websites or platforms on Android, iOS does not currently provide a native possibility for this. However, companies can use Cortado MDM, for example, to bring self-developed apps to iOS devices. There are also rumors that Apple will allow sideloading with iOS 17 in response to new EU competition rules.
Companies often use sideloading to provide company-specific applications that are not available through public app stores. However, this practice also poses security risks and can lead to data breaches and compliance issues.
Security risks when sideloading apps
App sideloading can lead to various security risks that companies should consider. These include malware infections, data breaches, violations of corporate policies and compliance requirements, and corporate liability risks.
Downloading and installing apps from unknown sources increases the risk of malware getting onto the smartphone, as these apps are not subject to the security checks of the official app stores.
Data protection breaches
Sideloading can lead to data breaches when apps are installed on company devices without the company’s knowledge and gain unauthorized access to sensitive company data.
Breaches of corporate guidelines and compliance requirements
Companies that are subject to legal regulations or industry-specific compliance requirements can violate these regulations by sideloading apps, which can lead to penalties and reputational damage.
Companies can be held liable if app sideloading causes security incidents or data breaches that lead to financial losses or legal consequences.
Sideloading of apps: MDM as a fundamental building block for mastering security challenges
Mobile Device Management (MDM) is a process for managing and securing mobile devices used by employees in organizations. MDM systems allow companies to centrally manage applications and settings on devices and enforce security policies to minimize risks associated with sideloading.
Advantages of MDM in dealing with sideloading
An MDM system can help reduce security risks when sideloading apps by:
- Blocks or restricts the installation of apps from unknown sources.
- Supplies an in-house app distribution platform to securely distribute approved apps to employees.
- Ensures regular security updates and patches for mission-critical applications
- Restrict or block access to corporate data on non-compliant devices.
- Provides monitoring and reports to check device health, installed apps and compliance with security policies, and to show potential security risks at an early stage.
By using a mobile device management solution such as Cortado MDM, organizations can keep control over sideloading and effectively manage the associated security challenges.
Sideloading apps in a corporate context can lead to significant security risks that companies should consider. Implementing MDM systems like Cortado’s can help minimize these risks and ensure the protection of corporate data on mobile devices.
Companies should develop clear security policies and standards for mobile devices, conduct regular training and awareness-raising for employees on security risks related to sideloading, and ensure that all mobile devices in the company are protected by the MDM system.
With a comprehensive MDM strategy, companies can not only ensure the security of their business data, but also increase the productivity of their employees and become more competitive. It is therefore essential that companies address the issue of sideloading and mobile device management and respond appropriately to ensure the security of their mobile devices and business data.
Enjoy the Ease of Mobile Device Management
With Cortado MDM, you’re ready to go right away and can manage mobile devices easily and securely.