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Employees just won't stop using prohibited apps at work

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Even though it’s widely known that unvetted apps pose a major security threat for all businesses, most workers don’t care.

This is according to a new report from security platform for unmanageable applications, Cerby.

Surveying more than 500 business professionals in North America and the UK employed by large enterprises, Cerby found that 92% want full control over the applications they deploy for work.

Loss of trust

More than half (51%) continue using their preferred office software, productivity apps and collaboration tools, even if these apps were specifically banned by the IT department. Furthermore, 52% want for the IT department to just “get out of the way”.

“There’s a chasm between the perception of organizational control over the technologies used for work purposes, and the reality of employees deploying their own preferred applications—companies ignore this trend at their own peril,” said Cerby co-founder and CEO Belsasar Lepe. “We all understand why employers disallow particular applications, but this isn’t a feasible policy in the long term.” 

Elsewhere, Cerby found that 60% of employees and managers believe that, by blocking an app, management actually shows it doesn’t exactly trust its employees. As a result, the employees would think less highly of their organizations. 

Furthermore, a quarter (25%) don’t want their IT or security departments to have the final say when it gets to the apps they use, while a fifth (19%) of those whose preferred apps were blocked eventually ignored the decision and kept using them.

According to Cerby, the problems started with the pandemic. It was those early days of the pandemic, and the panic that ensued, that allowed employees to use whatever apps they wanted, as long as they got the job done. 

In the first few months of the pandemic, most businesses were focused on continuity and productivity, rather than security, Cerby argues. That feeling has now become “entrenched” and, today, employees and managers are reluctant at giving away this newly found freedom. 

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.