Securing Your Mobile Application Is Not Your Biggest Problem

In countless conversations I have had with project managers and developers regarding their mobile projects, I see a common issue.  The goal of the project is to develop mobile apps that gain access to backend systems and data. The number one concern with these types of projects is security and securing access to these backend systems. Absent from the list of concerns is scalability of the new systems. What happens if the new system does not scale?

Think about it: On one of your most successful days, you end up not being able to service customers. How many of those new potential customers may not return because of that initial bad experience?  How much more successful would the project have been if all customers were serviced quickly during their initial user experience?

Quality Is Job 1

In the 1980s, when Ford was scrambling to counter inroads into the U.S. market by Japanese rivals, the automaker rolled out the slogan, “Quality is Job 1.”  The goal of the slogan was to let consumers know that customer satisfaction and a good solid product was top priority.

Dan Rowinski’s infographic shows the expectations of mobile users and the importance of quality and speed for the success of any mobile project.  One-third of mobile users will go to a competitor’s site if your site is not functioning initially.  In addition, 74% of mobile website users and 50% of mobile app users will exit if the system does not load within five seconds. Expectations are high and the consequences are severe for failing to meet expectations.

In With the New, Out With the Old

Sticking with the Ford theme, Henry Ford once said, “Be ready to revise any system, scrap any method, abandon any theory, if the success of the job requires it.” That is exactly what the job calls for now. The old approach of large server farms—with application servers that translate between backend business protocols and HTTP—are costly, complex, and highly inefficient, and will prevent systems from scaling. Forcing mobile networks to transmit large packets and imposing mobile clients to parse out extraneous data slows down the entire experience.

Organizations need to design mobile applications to have far less overhead, and support asynchronous protocols that can handle devices going in and out of network coverage. As part of the HTML5 specifications, WebSockets was introduced as a highly efficient full-duplex communications protocol. Now enterprises can develop mobile applications that have instant two-way communications with backend corporate applications.

TIBCO Web Messaging (TWM) takes this one step further and provides native integration with TIBCO Enterprise Message Service (EMS), allowing any web or mobile device to be a first-class citizens of EMS. TIBCO EMS is a JMS-based messaging platform that brings different IT assets and communication technologies together on a common messaging backbone, which unlocks information trapped in system and applications silos and centralizes data distribution across the environment. Organizations must leverage the infrastructure they have in place and allow applications internally to communicate in real time, and extend that to provide real-time access to backend systems, and data from any mobile device and significantly reduce time-to-market.

Don’t Forget About Security

Don’t let the title mislead you—security is still a critical piece to any mobile project. Ensuring proper controls around authentication and authorization is critical. Being able to leverage your existing security infrastructure, and comply with security policies, is key to keeping costs low and delivering the project quickly. TWM provides the tools necessary to satisfy the most demanding security requirements.

TIBCO Web Messaging for EMS allows you to provide a unified architecture, allowing for a single communication layer and a single security architecture for all endpoints, regardless if they are web, mobile, or desktop application backend servers. Cost and time-to-market are slashed and you become far more nimble and agile with TWM.

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With a career spent on the cutting edge of technology and its integration with business processes, Kevin currently leads product marketing for Integration technologies at TIBCO. He is the former SVP Global Sales/Marketing with Proginet prior to its acquisition by TIBCO. Kevin also served on the Board of Directors of OSINet Corporation, a non-profit standards based software association, and has served as Chairman of the North American Open System Implementers Workshop at the United States Institute of Standards and Technology. His standards work included work on directory services as well as the File Transfer Access and Management (FTAM) standard. Kevin loves baseball and football, taking adventures, and spending time with his family. He lives in New York, New York.