Mar 01, 2012

Which mobile apps does your IT department block?

An earlier question about tablet use gave rise to an answer that mentioned playing angry birds. Funny because it is true, even if the golden days of Angry Birds are over (and even if many of use that are also "gamers" don't think it is that great anyway...no offense). It reminded me of a MDM study that showed Facebook and Angry Birds were the two biggest concerns for IT. Really?!? I mean, sure, you don't want employees spending all day with either, and I do view Facebook as a serious security concern, but if Angry Birds is what IT is really worried about I have to question that. There are so many games available that I don't see the point of blocking just one because it happens to be popular. Especially when there are other apps out there that pose potential security concerns, including some I use like Dropbox and Evernote. So what apps do most IT departments block, and how are those chosen?

If your company owns the phones, I would think it would be better to block everything except the apps you specifically authorize, but in these BYOD days that can be pretty much impossible. I agree that the focus on a single game app like Angry Birds is pretty pointless, but everyone has heard of it; most 80 year old members of management probably have grandchildren running around with little A.B. hats on. So since that is the one they know about, that is the one that they ban. Pointless, but hey, if it makes them feel better. Wonder if they checked all the PCs for minesweeper?

In the end, it probably comes down to a cost-benefit analysis that the productivity gains outweigh the security risk. At least that is the calculation until they suffer a serious security breach.
Well, I work from home so I don't have a problem with sites or apps being blocked. Heh, heh. Of course I have to make sure I don't get caught up in those kinds of games since I am a freelancer and must work to earn money. I can't really get away with goofing off too much or I won't be able to eat. ;)

For those of you trapped at the office, here's an article that will help you get around blocked sites at work:

How to Get Around Blocked Web Sites at School or Work: A Newbie’s Guide

"If you work at a large company, or go to just about any school, you’ve probably tried to browse to a favorite website only to find that it’s been blocked from your view. It may be annoying, but network administrators usually do this for perfectly valid reasons; it may be to lower their ISP bills due to bandwidth-wasting sites, or to block social networking sites at a place of business keep employees more productive.

Even though these restrictions are in place there may be times that you have a perfectly valid reason to access one of these sites, like when you need to find a phone number of a contact. This is a quick and simple guide to bypassing your organization’s blocking methods. Use at your own risk and be aware if your company deals with flagship merchant services that you might still be monitored."
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