Blog | August 15, 2014

Rogue Apps: From Customer Headache To Recurring Revenue Boon

By The Business Solutions Network


I remember the days when IT admins so tightly locked down PC permissions that users couldn't change a printer setting, let alone install their own choice of applications. Of course, just 10 years ago, there weren't a whole lot of specialized apps and there certainly weren't all the cloud apps we have today.

Employees don't think they need permission to work smarter by installing apps like Dropbox on their computer. While users are more empowered than ever and have access to new productivity tools every day, an IT nightmare has been created -- rogue apps on the network. It might be worse than you think.

When launching its new AppGuru product (used to discover installed applications on network endpoints), LogMeIn revealed the results of a survey it conducted with Edge Strategies. The companies asked IT professionals to estimate the number of unauthorized (i.e. bring your own apps [BYOA]) installed on their networks. The pros estimate worked out to be 2.8 apps per organization. After using application discovery technology, they found the average number of apps closer to 21 per company! That's 21 applications that could be used to transfer intellectual property from a secure network to an unsecure one. Those apps could be a conduit for malware, used to participate in illegal activity, or bandwidth hogs (Is Ricky using Bittorrent to illegally download movies over lunch?). Minimally, the rogue apps might negatively affect the performance of a machine or network.

In some cases, a business might not care about certain unauthorized apps being installed and used. Perhaps the productivity gains are worth it. But doesn't it make sense to at least be aware of what's being installed? With that data, a company can make better decisions regarding its IT. If so many employees are using personal Dropbox accounts, maybe the company should invest in the business version of the service to regain control and ownership of the data.

This BYOA problem is a nice opportunity for solutions providers. If you're already offering managed services, adding a service like AppGuru to your bundle can be a nice differentiator. If you're not selling services, offering something like this could be a great first step, or wedge. A wedge product or solution forces open the door to new customers or, more importantly to break-fix VARs, allows you to upsell a service to existing customers. Indeed, an application discovery and management tool might be a simple-to-understand, affordable, and valuable service you can offer customers and dip your toes in the as-a-Service pool.