Do you ever feel like you're drowning in a sea of apps and digital tools? You're not alone! Nowadays, employees are using an average of 40-60 different apps and web tools in their daily work. It's no wonder that 71% of them find it overwhelming and believe that this app overload makes their work more complex.
Think about it: notifications and alerts are constantly bombarding us. We get a "ping" when someone mentions our name in a Teams channel, a popup tells us that an update is available, or an alert notifies us of errors or security issues. It's no surprise that app fatigue is not only real but also becoming a cybersecurity problem. The more overwhelmed we are by notifications, the more likely we are to start ignoring them altogether.
Just imagine the various types of digital alerts you receive:
- Software apps on your computer
- Web-based SaaS tools
- Websites where you've allowed alerts
- Mobile apps and tools
- Email banners
- Text messages
- Team communication tools
To make matters worse, some of us even receive the same notification on multiple devices, adding to the confusion. All of this leads to a host of issues that not only impact productivity but also put cybersecurity at risk.
In addition to alert bombardment, there's another challenge that comes with the constant influx of apps: password management. Every time your boss introduces a new app, you're faced with another password to remember. Currently, employees are already juggling an average of 191 passwords, and they typically use around 154 of them at least once a month.
So, how does app fatigue put companies at risk? Let's take a closer look:
Employees Begin Ignoring Updates
When digital alerts interrupt your workflow, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and fall behind. As a result, you may start ignoring seemingly small tasks that aren't perceived as time-sensitive, such as installing app updates. Overwhelmed employees often brush off these updates, thinking they don't have the time or unsure of how long it will take.
However, ignoring app updates is dangerous. Many updates include crucial security patches for vulnerabilities found in the software. By not installing these updates, your device and network become more susceptible to cyberattacks. It's essential to stay up-to-date to reduce the risk of a successful breach.
Employees Reuse Passwords (and They're Often Weak)
Another casualty of app fatigue is password security. The more SaaS accounts you create, the higher the likelihood of reusing passwords. Research suggests that passwords are typically reused around 64% of the time. This practice significantly increases the risk of a credential breach, as hackers can easily crack weak passwords. If the same password is used across multiple accounts, all of them become vulnerable to attack.
Employees May Turn Off Alerts
Some alerts are unnecessary and can be safely turned off. Do you really need to know every time someone responds to a group thread, or is it enough to be notified when they specifically mention you? However, turning off important security alerts is not a wise choice.
There comes a point when one more push notification can push someone over the edge. In frustration, they may turn off all alerts across all apps. Unfortunately, this means that critical alerts get lost in the mix. For instance, an anti-malware app warning about a newly discovered virus may go unnoticed, leaving your device at risk.
Now that we understand the risks associated with app fatigue, what's the solution? While it's not realistic to turn back time and eliminate all apps from our lives, there are strategies we can employ to regain control:
Streamline Your Business Applications
From both a productivity and security standpoint, less is more. The fewer apps you use, the lower the risk. Take a closer look at the tools you currently use and identify any redundancies. Many companies end up using multiple apps that serve the same purpose. Consider adopting an umbrella platform like Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace, which offer a variety of work tools accessible through a single login. Consolidating your apps can simplify your workflow, reduce the number of passwords you need to remember, and minimize the notifications you receive.
Have Your IT Team Set up Notifications
Determining which notifications are truly important can be challenging for users. To alleviate this burden, involve your IT team in setting up app notifications. They can help configure the notifications so that employees aren't overwhelmed but still receive the essential alerts they need to stay informed and secure.
Automate Application Updates
Keeping devices and software up to date is a crucial cybersecurity practice. By automating the update process, you remove the burden from employees and improve productivity by eliminating unnecessary update interruptions. Consider implementing a managed services solution that automates device updates. This not only enhances security but also mitigates the risk of having vulnerable apps that could compromise your network.
Open a Two-Way Communication About Alerts
Sometimes, employees hesitate to turn off alerts because they fear getting into trouble or missing important information. On the other hand, managers may be unaware of how constant app alerts affect productivity. It's important to establish open communication channels between employees and managers. Encourage employees to provide feedback on how alerts impact their work and suggest improvements. Engage in discussions on effective alert management and find ways to create a more productive work environment.
Need Help Taming Your Cloud App Environment?
Managing a cloud-based app environment can be challenging. If you're struggling with app overload and want assistance in consolidating and optimizing your cloud app environment, Layer 2 Computers is here to help. Reach out to us today, and let's work together to streamline your app usage and enhance productivity.