Four in five employees use non-approved apps at work: McAfee

Security vendor finds that the accessibility of the Cloud has enabled employees to bypass IT administrators

A Stratecast survey has found that more than 80 per cent of employees admit to using unauthorised Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications during work.

The McAfee sponsored report also found that IT professionals (83 per cent) use a higher number of non-approved SaaS applications, commonly dubbed as “shadow IT,” than regular company employees (81 per cent).

Bypassing IT processes (39 per cent) was the popular reason for why IT professionals use unauthorised SaaS, while IT restrictions were blamed for making their job difficult (18 per cent).

With four in five employees admitting to using non-approved SaaS at work, McAfee Asia Pacific CTO, Sean Duca, said a balance needs to be struck between businesses protecting themselves and enabling employees to be productive.

“The best approach is to deploy solutions that transparently monitor SaaS applications and uniformly apply enterprise policies, without restricting employees’ ability to do their jobs better,” he said.

“These not only enable secure access to SaaS applications, but can also encrypt sensitive information, prevent data loss, protect against malware, and enable IT to enforce acceptable usage policies.” To highlight this point, Duca refers to the result of 15 per cent of users experiencing a security, access, or liability event while using SaaS.

The draw of social

Microsoft Office 365 (9 per cent) was the top unapproved SaaS application used at work, followed by Zoho (eight per cent), LinkedIn and Facebook (seven per cent for both).

As for what has made acquiring and deploying SaaS applications without the involvement of the IT department easier, Duca points to the growth of the Cloud in regions such as Asia Pacific.

“As a result, many applications are used by corporate employees without the participation or approval of the corporate IT department,” he said.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.

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