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Kevin Skapinetz, Director of Strategy and Product Marketing, IBM Security

Kevin Skapinetz, Director of Strategy and Product Marketing, IBM Security

By Kevin Skapinetz

A few years back, companies began listening to employees who wanted to bring their own devices (BYOD) to work. They established security policies to allow the use of personal devices for accessing company information anytime, anywhere.

Not surprisingly, the workforce continues to look outside the corporate walls for new ways to get their jobs done and one go-to technology are the cloud apps they use in their daily lives.

As of today, however, most organizations have visibility into only a fraction of the third-party apps their employees are using for work purposes. Making matters worse, many lack the ability to manage and secure the data and files their employees are uploading and share to these apps.

But instead fighting the trend, we believe businesses should embrace “bring your own apps” as well as BYOD, to work.

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Today, IBM announced a new technology that enables organizations to see, manage and secure the numerous third-party, cloud-based apps that their employees are using for work. IBM’s new Cloud Security Enforcer is the first solution to combine visibility of cloud apps with cloud identity management, which enables companies to discover apps being accessed by employees and helps provide a secure way to access and use them.

We’re working with several of the most popular developers of cloud-based apps widely used by workers, such as Box, to make this possible.

We’re focused on this problem because companies are losing control over their most sensitive data. As an example, when employees leave a company, they may very well still have access to lists of sales contacts – uploaded to an outside file-sharing app that they could access on personal phones.

A new IBM study of 1,000 employees at large organizations found that 1 in 3 employees frequently use both their corporate and personal accounts to log into and access third-party, cloud-based apps.

Other findings from the study include:

  • Milllennials use external cloud-based platforms in greater numbers. More than half (51%) of this growing employee group – who will make up half of the worldwide workforce by 2020 – use cloud services at work;
  • One in four employees uses their company credentials to access cloud-based platforms;
  • A majority (57%) of employees agree it is a violation of their company’s security IT policies, and yet continue to use external, cloud-based apps.
  • The top three reasons employees use external-cloud based platforms are: 1) to increase access (45%); 2) enhance job performance (37%); 3) for convenience (27%).

​And with the BYO-Cloud Apps trend growing, there’s strong support from employees to have their employers hop onto the BYO bandwagon.

Consider another finding from the study: if cloud-based apps were provided or sanctioned by the IT department, 60% of employees surveyed said they would be very or somewhat likely to use cloud-based apps through a company-provisioned account. What’s even more telling is that the vast majority (73%) of the biggest cloud adopters – millennial workers – said they would use them.

The new Cloud Security Enforcer, built by IBM Security, allows organizations to reduce the challenges of “shadow IT,” defend against malicious actors looking to prey on unsafe cloud app usage, and realize the productivity and efficiency benefits of using cloud apps without putting their corporate data at risk.

With Cloud Security Enforcer, we’re looking to help companies, and the providers of the apps they use, identify threats and make employees more productive at the same time. This is a trend everyone can get behind.

There is a new way to work, and it’s made with IBM. Learn more at or join the conversation at #MadeWithIBM.

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