The usage of apps and web tools by employees has been on the rise, with each department typically relying on approximately 40-60 different digital tools. Surveys indicate that 71% of employees believe the abundance of apps complicates their work, leading to a phenomenon known as "app fatigue." This growing issue poses significant cybersecurity risks, as individuals become overwhelmed by the constant influx of notifications and are more likely to disregard them. Consider the multitude of digital alerts individuals encounter on a daily basis, including software apps on computers, web-based SaaS tools, permitted website alerts, mobile apps, email banners, text messages, and team communication tools. Furthermore, the duplication of notifications across multiple devices exacerbates the problem, resulting in various challenges that impede productivity and compromise cybersecurity.
One of the consequences of app fatigue is that employees begin to ignore important updates. With constant interruptions from digital alerts, individuals often feel perpetually behind and tend to overlook seemingly insignificant tasks, such as installing app updates. Overwhelmed by numerous app alerts, employees may dismiss them hastily, believing they cannot spare the time or unsure of the time investment required. However, ignoring device updates can be perilous, as these updates often contain critical security patches that address vulnerabilities. Neglecting to install these patches increases the risk of successful cyberattacks and compromises the security of both the device and the network.
Password security is another casualty of app fatigue. As employees are required to create multiple SaaS accounts, the likelihood of password reuse increases. Research suggests that passwords are reused approximately 64% of the time, making them vulnerable to hacking attempts. Credential breaches serve as a primary cause of cloud data breaches, as hackers can easily crack weak passwords. The reuse of passwords across multiple accounts further amplifies the security risks.
Moreover, app fatigue may lead employees to disable or turn off important alerts. While it is acceptable to disable less critical notifications, such as updates in group threads, disabling essential security alerts is highly detrimental. At a certain point, the constant barrage of push notifications becomes overwhelming, prompting individuals to deactivate alerts across all apps. Unfortunately, this action also includes crucial notifications, such as warnings from anti-malware apps regarding newly discovered viruses.
To address app fatigue, it is crucial to implement strategies that empower individuals to manage their technology effectively. While regressing to a time before the proliferation of apps is unrealistic, organizations can adopt several measures to mitigate its impact:
1. Streamline Business Applications:
Opting for a reduced number of apps is advantageous both in terms of productivity and security. The fewer apps in use, the lower the associated risks, including password management and notification overload. Companies should evaluate their toolset to identify redundancies and eliminate overlapping functions. Consider employing comprehensive platforms like Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace, which integrate multiple work tools under a single login.
2. IT Team-Managed Notifications:
Users often struggle to prioritize essential notifications amidst the deluge of alerts. To address this, the IT team can configure app notifications on behalf of users. This ensures that employees receive vital notifications without being inundated.
3. Automated Application Updates:
Automating device and software updates is a cybersecurity best practice. By taking this responsibility out of employees' hands, organizations enhance productivity by eliminating unnecessary updates from their view. Employing a managed services solution for automating device updates improves security and reduces the risk of vulnerable apps compromising the network.
4. Establish Two-Way Communication About Alerts:
Employees may hesitate to disable alerts due to fear of potential repercussions. Simultaneously, managers may be unaware of the negative impact constant app alert interruptions have on productivity. It is essential to foster open communication with employees, emphasizing that they can approach management with their concerns. This facilitates discussions on effective alert usage and optimal ways to manage alerts for a more productive work environment.
If your organization is struggling with taming the cloud app environment and optimizing its efficiency, consider seeking assistance from NextGEN IT Solutions. We specialize in consolidating and optimizing cloud app environments, offering tailored solutions to meet your specific needs. Contact us today for expert guidance in this complex domain.
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