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Lost and Found: App proliferation leads to lack of insight

Lori MacVittie Miniature
Lori MacVittie
Published January 07, 2020
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It's no surprise that most organizations are in the dark about application usage. After all, most aren't even aware of how many applications are in use across the business. That's not necessarily their fault; a study from Harmon.ie found that nearly half (48%) of respondents regularly used applications not authorized by IT in the workplace. 

Some might dismiss this as being the result of lax enterprise app policies. I require many apps for my work not authorized by our IT department and I use them on a regular basis. Monitoring apps. Development apps. Analytical apps. 

But it's not just that folks have these kinds of apps in their environment. Over half (52%) admitted to downloading and using enterprise applications not authorized by IT. These aren’t your garden variety social apps such as Facebook or Candy Crush or Fortnite, now. These are enterprise applications that are used to conduct business on behalf of the organization. And IT is blind to their usage and risks. 

This type of proliferation is problematic, but often seen as harmless. That may be because executives and stakeholders aren't aware of real impacts from the inability to steward the growing portfolio of "lost and found" applications. 

For example, many enterprise apps require licenses—whether those are subscriptions or old school per-user based. If you aren't aware of the app you aren't aware of the budgetary impact from unnecessary licenses or automagically renewed subscriptions long after the app has outlived its use. 

But before you race to find and raise your pitchforks at business stakeholders, it's important to recognize that IT contributes to the proliferation of lost apps all the time. With portfolios averaging over 200 apps—and some reaching into the 1000s—it's likely impossible for IT to track them all. Some were abandoned years ago, others just last week. Each one incurs risk and costs as they continue to chew up compute, network, and storage resources. 

Finding them should be a priority. 

But it's not a trivial task, and that's one of the reasons we introduced F5 Beacon. Beacon empowers IT by automatically finding and cataloging enterprise web apps you've long forgotten or lost. But more than just finding them, Beacon can analyze usage and provide the actionable insights necessary for IT and business stakeholders to understand the impact on the bottom line—and to the risk profile. 

Those actionable insights are invaluable to making decisions about what to do with those apps. Shut them down. Secure them. Migrate them. How an enterprise manages its app portfolio is unique to their technology strategy. What's important is that the enterprise can manage its app portfolio.  

F5 Beacon was designed to help you do just that. 

You can learn more and try F5 Beacon here, or dive straight into the docs to learn more about how F5 Beacon integrates with existing F5 products, services, and with third-party providers.

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