More than Half of Employees Use Rogue Apps for Work, Survey Finds

  • Many organizations don’t monitor people working from home
  • Some employees are unhappy with how the IT department is solving their problems
  • The shadow IT security issue has only increased during the pandemic, with people using unsanctioned apps for work tasks

Companies everywhere are battling a dire security situation that has mostly remained hidden. According to a survey from NetMotion, two-thirds of employees use software tools not vetted by the IT department, not to mention that few even the problems to IT specialists.

Now that so many people are working from home, it’s difficult to estimate how many will return to the office once the COVID-19 pandemic slows down. What is certain is that companies and their IT departments now face a very real problem with people working from home, connecting to unsecure networks, and using unknown software on their work computers and devices.

Interestingly, one of the first things that the NetMotion survey revealed was that one in six organizations have no tools to monitor workers. This means that 18 percent of organizations have no visibility into the devices used for remote work.

From here on out, things go from bad to worse. While around 82 percent of businesses monitor remote workers to some extent, IT departments could not determine the work reported issues 27% of the time. That means that, on average, the IT department couldn’t diagnose one in every four problems.

On the other side, workers feel that IT departments are not responsive to feedback, and less than 50 percent of reported issues were resolved satisfactorily. But one of the most significant problems is that of shadow IT.

“62% of remote workers are using rogue applications – with 25% using a significant number of unapproved tools outside of the official IT policy,” found the survey. “The most popular unsanctioned tools used by remote workers, according to our survey, are productivity apps (38%) such as Google Docs and Doodle, followed closely by communications software (32%) such as WhatsApp and Zoom.”

Using applications other than those sanctioned by the IT department only widens companies’ blind spot and exposes the organizations to possible security issues that are extremely difficult to counter.