Report: The average company has 461 apps (and many are banned)

For IT pros who think they have a good handle on all the apps inside the company, bad news: Cloud apps are being added faster than ever. And many of them are running without IT’s permission, control or knowledge.

At the recent Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise conference, Netskope released research showing just how prevalent cloud apps have become in the enterprise.

Netskope discovered on average, companies were running 461 apps. Meanwhile, IT pros estimated the number of apps in the enterprise to be somewhere around 40-50.

That’s an almost ten-fold difference. And not all of those apps are running on enterprise-level security.

Other key cloud findings

The research also showed the average company had 27 cloud storage apps, both sanctioned and unsanctioned. That’s a concern since these apps were the No. 1 source of policy violations.

And here’s the real kicker: More than 90% of the cloud usage was apps that were blocked by companies’ firewalls or other perimeter security measures. So even though the apps were banned, users could easily find ways around that. And their efforts might be misdirected.

“There’s an inverse relationship between blocking and policy,” according to Jamie Barnett, VP of Marketing for Netskope. “Companies are only blocking the apps they’ve heard of, which are ironically the most secure.”

Communication is key

For IT, this may all seem to be doom and gloom. It would appear that personal cloud use is simultaneously out of reach and control. But that’s only using technical means.

Communicating the dangers to users may be more effective than technical solutions. Explain to them:

  • What the cloud is. Many could be using cloud apps without being able to put a name to them. The first step to securing these apps is making sure users understand what they are.
  • Your policies. While banning apps outright is clearly not working, you can mitigate the danger by explaining what behaviors aren’t allowed. For instance, you may make it clear that users aren’t allowed to upload anything to a service other than one you’ve specifically approved.
  • The consequences. This could be consequences for users, the customers or the company. If you want them to see why they shouldn’t be using a non-enterprise cloud app, you have to explain what the consequences could be – for the company, or for their jobs.

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