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Closed platform – A comprehensive guide to this secure system

by Casey Schmidt  |  March 27, 2020

3 min. read
A visual representation of a closed platform.

Closed platform systems govern the way a system is used, including the manner in which a certain program operates. It’s important to understand the concept at a basic level and know when to implement it in your company. Here are some important reasons to consider using closed platform and how it differentiates from open platform.

What is a closed platform?

A closed platform software structure regulates the way users operate within its system. It allows the company licensing out its software to maintain control of how a user behaves on its program. For example, in a kid’s bedroom, the child can play with the toys inside of it but once they want a toy from the store, the parent has to approve. The child is the end user, the bedroom is the software and the parent is the software company.

A padlock on a keyboard.
Certain programs restrict content misuse.

Closed platform restricts content and outside applications. It often rejects content it doesn’t approve usually because the makers of the content refused to pay a licensing fee. Outside applications are restricted because they drastically change the software or program outside of its original intent, which threatens company standards. Though restriction can often have negative connotations, a closed platform isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the restrictions can be a positive in many ways. Before we address whether or not you should consider them extensively, here’s a direct comparison of the open and closed platforms.

How does closed platform differ from open platform?

Closed platform differs from an open platform in functionality. Open platform systems allow incorporation from other programs to offer different functions of the original software. Furthermore, open platform allows end users to manipulate the originally intended purpose of the program. A restrictive program prevents these variations. Below are some more distinct examples showing how these two different program types operate.

A digital picture of the number one.
Closed and open platforms are essentially opposites.

Open platform systems have different capabilities, such as the potential to implement APIs within the software program. It also allows users a chance to use the software systems in a manner that wasn’t originally intended by the software creator. In fact, there is often a chance for users to edit and reprogram the code within an open platform system. All of these potential functionalities of the open platform programs are, of course, unavailable to the closed platform systems.

Should an enterprise consider this system?

Imagine buying a new car and modifying its horn to produce sounds that reach dangerous volume levels. This modification might be something a small amount of users may want from a car but a majority of users want the company-installed horn. From the company’s end of this scenario, the modification may give their brand a bad name, as other drivers become frustrated with their model car blaring loud noises. This is an example of when closed platform benefits a business more than open platform.

A padlock in a server.
Security is an important measure for most companies.

One thing that stands out with a closed platform is security. The coding of a large enterprise is made with security in mind. That security stays intact with these types of systems. Customers require support from the software company as well, though it’s difficult to navigate a support problem if the initial code is altered or third party applications are installed. If security is one of the most important aspects of a lot of your work, this system might best suit you.

A company concerned with the misuse or theft of its content within a closed platform system should consider automated maintenance of digital content. The best solution for this is a digital rights management (DRM) system. Along with a DRM, they should consider the benefits of closed platform software.