Business owners are cracking down on certain apps in the workplace. Fiberlink, a communications company behind the mobile device management platform Maas360, analyzed data from over 4,000 of its customer companies to find out who is blacklisting what--and why.
While less than 10 percent of the surveyed companies have formal blacklist policies in place, that doesn't mean they don't have concerns.
"IT [departments] have redefined themselves as enablers of technology, not the technology police," says Fiberlink's product marketing manager Jonathan Dale. Specifically, companies are concerned about three things:
Preventing data leakage.
The most frequently blacklisted app for both iOS and Android devices: Dropbox. The file-sharing app seems harmless enough--even helpful, when it comes to collaborative work settings--but companies with sensitive information view the application as a liability, Dale says. Similar applications like Google Drive, SkyDrive, and Sugarsync make the "banned" list for the same reason.
Protecting against malware.
Cyber security is a big deal for most companies--especially those who share information across devices within their networks. So some apps are being banned due to their malware risks. Though not an app, Dale points to the practice of "jailbreaking" a phone--or removing the limitations of a certain operating system through software exploits--as one example of what companies want to avoid. A modified phone could lead to "additional risky behavior" he explains.
Increasing worker productivity.
Many employers are also cracking down on notorious time-wasters: Facebook, Pandora, Angry Birds, and Netflix all make the most-banned list. Restricting those apps is harder to enforce, however, says Dale. In the case of BYOD (bring your own device), for example, it can be difficult for employers to ban popular music or social networking apps. One solution, according to Dale, is to block the apps from company Wi-Fi networks and desktops--therefore limiting employee use.
In some cases, employers or organizations with strict technology limitations--like schools and healthcare facilities--are creating what Dale calls "whitelists," or lists of pre-approved apps that can be used to supplement a device's default settings.
Think of them like luxury ad-ons in a car. The benefit to having a whitelist, Dale says, as opposed to simply installing all approved software automatically, is that you can instantly make policy changes to adopt the software--rather than having to touch each device individually.
Here is the full list for top banned apps on Android and iOS devices: