bring your own apps (BYOA)

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Bring your own apps (BYOA) is the trend toward employee use of third-party cloud application services in the workplace.

BYOA is an outgrowth of the bring your own device (BYOD) trend towards and the increasing consumerization of IT. Like it or not, employees are bringing the cloud apps they use on their personal devices to work. Popular consumer apps that are being used for business include Dropbox, CloudOn and Google Docs. Cited benefits of IT consumerization and the use of consumer applications include greater employee engagement and satisfaction as well as improved productivity.

As employee-owned technologies encroach upon the corporate network, however, security becomes increasingly problematic. Corporate data stored in a third-party cloud provider's environment is no longer under the control of the employee's IT department. If an employee's laptop with sensitive data is stolen, administrators can remotely wipe the hard drive but no such solution exists to protect the company in the event of a data breach in the cloud environment.

To deal with these and other issues, many organizations are implementing consumerization policies to establish acceptable use policies (AUP) for third-party software.

This was last updated in September 2014

Next Steps

Consumerization is changing how employees work and businesses operate. New authentication technologies and policies are required to meet the unique security challenges that the BYOA movement has brought to the enterprise.  Learn how multifactor authentication and a layered defense can help prevent your data from accidently walking out the door. There are several types of multifactor authentication technologies from which to choose and other defense mechanisms such as application sandboxing and mobile application distribution platforms security pros can consider. To learn more about MFA, read our comparison of MFA tools to evaluate products and learn about making the case for MFA.

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What policies do you think are important for employee use of third-party apps?
Instituting policies that ensure any third-party apps used within the social network infrastructure include checking on what privacy rights are waived with the third-party app that the social network has no control over. Also important for us having a policy that restricts use of games and other apps that gather user information and ad based behavioral habits. A policy of "no click" on advertisement is an important policy for third-party app use with our company.