5 Steps to a BYOA-ready Business – On Demand Webcast

cioToday’s most tuned in-IT pros realize that the technology landscape is changing. Employees have more flexibility than ever, the “Bring-your-own” trend is on the rise and 7X more apps are coming into the workplace than IT even realizes. Reigning in an empowered workforce can seem like an impossible task. Regardless of the size of your organization, if it’s unclear what’s happening on your network – there’s no way to improve it.

This on-demand webcast explores 5 steps to make your business BYOA ready. You have the opportunity to gain back the visibility, security and peace of mind needed to push your business forward, while still maintaining end-user satisfaction.

Interested in learning more? Download your copy today!

         

LogMeIn Introduces AppGuru

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Empowering businesses to securely embrace the app-centric world.

We’re excited to announce our new cloud app management offering, AppGuru. Specifically designed for IT professionals, AppGuru will change the way companies detect and secure employee-introduced applications and help IT professionals regain control of today’s consumerized IT environments.

IT’s acceptance of consumer devices into their network during the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) era opened up the door for an empowered workforce to introduce a flood of cloud applications to their corporate network. This exponentially increased the levels of business data flowing into the cloud and created an inability to understand what apps their employees were using in addition to existing, IT provided solutions. LogMeIn’s recent study fielded with Edge Strategies, found that 70% of organizations have a presence of bring-your-own-app (BYOA) and that IT underestimates the sheer volume of apps being brought into their organization by 7X.

This BYOA trend represents the latest example of the “Shadow IT” phenomenon, and has placed IT at an important crossroads; they can either ignore a trend that can be a threat to their business or address the challenge head on to bridge the gap between employee’s productivity wants, and their IT security needs.

With AppGuru, IT can take a managed and secure approach to cloud app adoption. Here’s a closer look at how AppGuru enables IT to embrace, secure and take control of the app-centric world:

  • Discover: IT can discover what apps are being used on the network, by whom, and on what devices, in addition to monitoring how much company data is going into the cloud
  • Analyze: Evaluate the security risks of cloud apps in use and uncover efficiencies across the organization with similar apps in use.
  • Provision: Manage your company’s current apps and subscriptions with out-of-the-box support for today’s most popular cloud apps, including Basecamp, Box, Evernote, GitHub, Google Apps, Jive, join.me, Office 365, Salesforce, and Trello.
  • Control: Enforce your company’s security standards, manage the adoption of cloud applications, and control feature usage within app policies.
  • Use: This centralized approach allows IT to access all of their company apps in one place and provide your company with the needed to streamline the adoption of new apps

Looking to get ahead of the trend and keep your network, data and business secure? Please visit AppGuru.com for more information.

AppGuru Discovery

         

[Infographic] Avoid the Sales/IT Collision Scenario: Using apps for better collaboration

What’s great for sales productivity isn’t always good for IT. Nearly 56% of sales teams agree that slow connections are one of the biggest issues with traditional online sales meeting apps, so it’s no surprise that many sales teams are bringing in their own cloud-based apps to demo, sell and close deals faster and easier.

The infographic below illustrates findings from an InfoWorld research report, based on an IDG QuickPulse survey administered to IT professionals. The report provides insight into the BYOA trend, identifies pain points associated with traditional online meeting tools, and address business-driven IT requirements that benefit the overall organization. You can get a full copy of the free report, Avoid the Sales/IT Collision Scenario: Using app for better collaboration, here, or get some quick highlights below.

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Can IT remain relevant in the era of BYOA? New research reveals 7 key findings

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Two megatrends — the rise of cloud applications and the consumerization of IT — are conspiring to change IT as we know it.  And in turn, they are calling  into question the value and very relevance of the role of IT, itself.   Today we released the first in a series of  studies designed to explore the state of IT management in today’s “BYO” workplace.  Featuring input from nearly 1400 IT professionals and business professionals, the  report  focuses on the rapid rise of employee introduced apps, or the bring-your-own-app (BYOA) trend, and explores how consumerized cloud apps have become both a challenge and a blind spot for many IT professionals.

A full copy of the BYOA report, Managing applications in the age of BYOA: Reclaiming IT’s strategic role, is available for download.  We’ll delve into the key findings, including key steps IT pros can take to embrace and manage this new reality in future posts, but here’s quick look at some of the highlights and takeaways.

Key findings:

1. BYOA is here to stay.

70% of organizations have some presence of BYOA and it’s a trend that is only going to increase.

2. IT significantly underestimates the scale of BYOA.

IT professionals in this global survey estimated they have, on average, 2.8 applications that were brought into the organization by employees. But LogMeIn data based on companies analyzed in the past 6 months shows the average to be closer to 21 apps–more than 7x what IT estimates.

3. Consumerization of Apps is accelerating.

Employees are bringing in their own applications in the first place because they’re unhappy with solutions provided by IT. More than 64% of the time, applications are brought in by employees when a solution already exists.

4. IT is out of the loop.

More importantly, employees are consulting IT less than half the time when choosing these applications. Then, even after IT endorses these employee-introduced applications, IT is rarely involved in provisioning or managing them.

5. Security risks are inconsistently managed-if at all.

IT professionals acknowledge that BYOA poses huge security risks, and takes some of the control for technology out of their hands, but many are not actively working to address the problem; only 38% currently have a policy in place.

6. Active employee engagement can help.

There are many positive things that can come out of allowing employees to introduce applications if managed properly. Apps brought in by employees tend to be more user-friendly, mobile-friendly, and better suited for collaboration.

7. IT has the ability to choose its role.

IT professionals can decide what role they want to play. They can act as gatekeepers and restrict app adoption, act as passive observers, and let the adoption happen without their involvement–or IT can act as strategic facilitators, managing and shaping the adoption and direction of the growing BYOA trend.

         

[SLIDECAST] Bring Your Own App: The Secret Weapon for Sales and Marketing Success

BYOA SlideCast - LogMeIn - Lou Orfanos - join.me

Recently, I attended the 2013 salesforce.com Dreamforce event.  I had the excellent opportunity to talk about how to best understand and leverage the Bring Your Own App trend in your organization.  It’s an interesting topic because it affects sales, marketing, and IT, albeit in vastly different ways.  The trick is using it to your advantage!  Here’s a description of the presentation, right from my abstract:

Bring Your Own App:  The Secret Weapon for Sales and Marketing Success

CIOs and their counterparts in Sales and Marketing have learned the hard way that saying “no” to user-chosen productivity applications is a non-starter.   Learn how leading enterprises are embracing these best of breed applications to achieve transformative improvements in overall collaboration and sales and marketing productivity.  This slidecast will help sales and IT leaders alike better understand and align around an ever-changing sales persona, driving better productivity and sales as a result.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend, I’m sharing it with you below.  You can pace yourself through the slides and my audio with the SlideShare commands.

What about you?  Does your workplace embrace a BYOA phenomenon?  Are you a millennial ‘Joe’ sales person?  Let us know in the comments.

         

BYOA: Apps brought by you, for you

Worried about straying away from your company’s provided apps?  You might be surprised to hear that only 16% of businesses strictly prohibit the use of outside
apps, according to a recent study by Edge Strategies, underwritten by LogMeIn.1 That means a majority of companies allow employees to use their preferred apps and bring them into the workplace. logmein bring your own app byoa

Take traditional online meeting tools, for instance. Are they sluggish? Are they difficult to use? Do they require participants to download software every single time? That’s okay because there are many fast, simple apps to choose from, and chances are you can use them at your organization.

Bring Your Own App (BYOA) empowers employees to increase their flexibility and productivity, and companies are catching onto the idea. In fact, nearly 70% of businesses report active use of employee-introduced apps.

What apps are employees using?

  • 69% are social media like Yammer, LinkedIn and Facebook
  • 52% are cloud syncing and storage apps like Dropbox and Cubby
  • 44% are for collaboration, like Skype and join.me

Plus, not only are most companies allowing outside apps into their workspace, but three out of ten actively encourage BYOA, and about the same share of apps (29%) are officially endorsed.

According to IT pros, BYOA is only going to keep growing – it’s expected that nearly 50% of companies will encourage employee-introduced apps in the next two years. While security and privacy concerns over BYOA are still prevalent among businesses and IT, most are willing to work with employees to promote a more productive work environment. So don’t be scared to find and use what works for you. And if you have any doubts, ask IT what their stance on BYOA is.

How about you? What employee-introduced apps do you use or see in your workplace? Sound off in the comments.

1“From Devices to Apps: New Research Shows Bring-Your-Own Trend Fueling Consumer App Adoption in the Workplace,” Edge Strategies on behalf of LogMeIn, December 10, 2012, https://investor.logmein.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=725849

(Image Source:  cloudmine.me(CC BY 2.0)

         

Can Dropbox win the battle for IT and end-user harmony?

When Netflix embarked on its goal to pivot from the world’s best known DVD and streaming provider to original content provider they offered a money quote of all money quotes – a simple phrase that summed up its ambitions and challenges in a nice neat sound byte: “The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.” software as a service

It is the first thing I thought of when reading this week’s news from Dropbox about their latest updates to the business offering. Dropbox may be among the best personifications of today’s shifting IT landscape and latest aspect of BYO trend, BYOA.

Today, the consumerization of IT is being pushed by a younger, more mobile workforce who are less inclined to draw a line between corporate and personal technology. Employees have good technology at home and they expect to be able to use it at work too. Consumerized services like Dropbox have quickly won over users – 200 million if you take the VC darlings report at face value. Consequently, IT departments are faced with deciding how to protect their networks and manage technology that they perhaps did not procure or provision.

According to what one Gartner analyst described to us as “at least 70+ contenders are looking to capitalize on IT fears by offering an enterprise – i.e. safe, IT friendly, secure, controlled – version of cloud file sync and share,” it’s a tough market for a company to differentiate itself in.  If you paid close enough attention, you’d notice that Dropbox was not on this list.

The problem for those vendors and for IT professionals is that users continue to bring in services like Dropbox in droves, and frankly they do not care what IT thinks. Users are not just looking for a “cloud storage solution”, they want one that is easy to use, addresses their work and life needs, and, most importantly, that is emotive.

To react, the “enterprise guys” talk a big game about winning over users too (see Box and their freemium offering). Trust us, Mr. IT guy, your users will love to use us.  Meanwhile the “consumer guys” are busy building out IT friendly features.

This sets up a battle for hearts and minds that, frankly, feel and think from completely different perspectives. Thus far, there are no clear winners – users bring in what they want while IT buys solutions they hope will stem the tide.

The question becomes, to paraphrase Netflix, “Can Dropbox become Box before Box becomes them?” 

Read more in the IT Guru category

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Supporting employee-introduced apps: 4 steps to consider

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Employees don’t want to work at a company where the first word out of the IT guy or gal’s mouth is always “No.”  And, correspondingly, there’s not a single IT person in the world who wants to be the “yes man” (or woman)–  the three-letter word that causes IT policies to be thrown out the window.

Today, you’d expect a lot more No’s than Yes’ as the BYOA (bring-your-own app) trend continues. It’s especially true when you consider  70 percent of IT professionals believe the use of unauthorized programs resulted in half of their companies’ data loss incidents.

Before you go one way or another–  yes or no — to employee requests for app support, be proactive with your strategy and consider taking these steps:

1. Survey:  Using a free tool like surveymonkey.com, ask your employees what apps they’re using at work and at home to stay productive.  Knowing is half the battle. As long as their answers are kept anonymous, they’re likely to be honest with you.

2. Discuss:  Once you know the top apps being used, find out why. Be prepared: it may be your fault. Are they adopting cloud storage solutions because you’ve failed to provision a mobile VPN? Could be. Sit down and talk with your employees to figure out what’s caused them to go rogue.

3. Learn: Maybe that collaboration app your marketing team is using isn’t the worst thing to happen to your company’s data security. Heck, it could be protecting you. Get on the web, read the documentation and learn about the apps.

4. Make a plan: There’s no silver bullet to making a strategic IT decision about employee desires and requests, but remember: there’s a balance. Create a Plus/Minus/Interesting or “PMI” chart (invented by Edward DeBono). In the “Interesting” column write down anything that may not be obviously positive or negative, but could lead you to some new territory. At the end, you may have your answer.

The use of the collaboration app I discovered being used in Marketing last week…

Plus Minus Interesting
Employees happy (+4) Can’t manage it (-2) Positions me as an early-adopter (+4)
Increases productivity (+3) Doesn’t integrate with AD (-3)  CEO is on our Advisory Board (+3)
Encrypts files not usually encrypted  (+5) Requires company-wide training (-1)
May increase bandwidth usage (-2)
+12
-8
+7

When all is said it done, it’s IT’s choice and no one else’s. So, who do you want to be? The “yes (wo)man” or the “no (wo)man”?  What’s your approach for getting there?

         

Your Dropbox Problem is Bigger than Dropbox

fight the fudYet another cloud security scare story has been making the rounds. In this particular case, Chinese hackers targeted users by sharing a malicious file from free Dropbox accounts. While it wasn’t your traditional hack – Dropbox was not compromised and its users’ and customers’ data was never at risk — it was enough to trigger the usual slew of sensationalized stories in the press and it was enough FUD to make business leaders nervous.

Now that the dust has settled, how many IT professionals had to answer the question, “we use that app, so what are you doing to make sure we’re safe”? If you didn’t get asked this time, I’m sure it has happened before. If it hasn’t, it will. It’s an unfortunate inevitability.

The truth of the matter is that the problem here is bigger than Dropbox. Employees are using a number of cloud apps to collaborate, share sensitive information, and get stuff done, from more ‘consumerized’ apps like Dropbox and Evernote to super simple business apps like Trello and Basecamp. The characteristics of these employee-introduced apps represent a much larger issue, a much more disruptive trend that is forcing IT professionals to re-imagine what makes a great business app.

I think we can all agree that we’ve reached a point where employee introduced cloud apps are unavoidable in the workplace. They’re just too darn simple and useful, and the free-to-low-cost price tag certainly doesn’t hurt. But IT pros need a better way to monitor and understand what apps employees are using. This isn’t because they should be playing Big Brother or actively looking to block usage, but rather because they need to be better prepared to respond when these issues arise. And for the apps that businesses choose to endorse and use, there’s a need for robust controls that might help to avoid some of the stumbles and mitigate some inherent risks when using such apps.

For you IT pros out there, have you ever had to respond to the backlash such stories tend to create?  If so, how did you make your boss or business leaders feel at ease with your company’s approach/readiness?