Complex Made Simple

18 reasons why it’s ‘impossible to live without apps’

How important are apps in everyday life? More important than eating and drinking? As important as sunlight or spending time with family?

According to the results of A10 Networks’ Application Intelligence Report (AIR), work and personal apps are so integral to daily life that many in the global workforce believe it is impossible and physically uncomfortable to live without them.

Neil Wu Becker, VP Marketing, A10 Networks said: “Understanding the dependency on apps in our lives raises questions about the diligence we apply to protecting our personal information. This is important when considering use of personal and work apps with work-issued devices on corporate networks in the workplace.

“As a security vendor, we see a need to increase the volume on factoring in human behaviour with technology investments. After all, the greatest security technology can be undermined by negligent behaviour.”

Here are the 18 key findings from the research, indicating that apps are as important to today’s workforce as basic daily nourishment like eating, breathing and socialising:

Digital oxygen sustaining daily life

1. Apps as a basic human necessity: Half (50 per cent) of all global respondents consider apps to be as or almost as important as breathing, eating and drinking.

2. Evolution of our digital DNA: More than four out of five globally consider apps integral to their personal lives, with more than eight of ten (86 per cent) citing either “I cannot live without apps” or it would “be a struggle” to live without them. The findings raise questions about how applications have evolved to the point where “they are now part of our DNA.”

3. Type vs. talk: When given the choice of options more than a 24-hour period, respondents would rather spend time with apps (ten per cent) than have the ability to use their voice (six per cent).

4. Give me apps or give me darkness: The survey also found that access to apps on a smartphone was equally as important as the ability to have access to sunlight or outdoor exposure more than a 24-hour period, when given a list of options that included time with family and friends, and access to food and water.

5. In an emergency: More respondents (45 per cent) would grab their smartphone on the way out of their homes – if given the choice of only taking one item – more than a safe with important documents (36 per cent), their personal photo albums (12 per cent), or a desktop or laptop (seven per cent).

6. The weakest link – mobile phones or IoT devices? Laptops are perceived as more vulnerable than mobile phones, when compared to a list that also includes IoT devices like surveillance cameras, smart TVs and Internet-enabled cars – all of which are, to many respondents, unknowingly vulnerable as well.

7. The naked truth: In a stark test of whether physical or online exposure is more uncomfortable, more respondents said they would rather lose their pants in public than their mobile phone.

8. Leave your house or phone unlocked? More participants would rather leave their house unlocked for a whole day than leave their unlocked phone on a park bench for an hour, with 52 per cent choosing the former.

Attitudes toward app use and security

9. Security a consideration – but only at first: Although more than four out of five (83 per cent) either agree or strongly agree that they think about security risks when first downloading an app, after that, security becomes much less of a concern, as only one in four (24 per cent) think of security as the most important attribute, ranking behind performance (32 per cent) and ease of use (24 per cent).

10. App developers and security: More than two out of five (43 per cent) do not believe security is the top priority for third-party app developers. When it comes to their own company, only half (53 per cent) think their company’s app developers have the skills to build safe business apps for them.

11. Taking risks: Even though they think app developers may not have security as their top concern – or have the proficiency to build secure apps at all – people still download apps and take their chances, as nearly half (47 per cent) still expect to be protected from cyber attacks by either their company or third-party app developers.

12. App apathy: The survey found a growing acceptance of the inevitability of getting hacked, as nearly one in three (29 per cent) feel cyber attacks ‘are a fact of life’, and one in five (21 per cent) ‘just try not to think about it’.

13. Security and work apps: Roughly one in three (32 per cent) surveyed think about security concerns when using personal apps. For business apps, security is even less of a thought, as fewer than one in five (17 per cent) surveyed cite security as a top thought when using them.

Cybersecurity behavior and threats

14. Identity theft – the new rite of passage: More than one in ten respondents (13 per cent) say they have been a victim of identity theft. And by a wide margin, the younger the generation, the more likely the person is to be a victim of identity theft: Nearly one in five (19 per cent) in their 20s reported having their identity stolen globally, while only two per cent of those older than 50 cited the same. This finding raises questions about how many people do not know they have been victimised.

15. Getting hacked: One in five (20 per cent) respondents have had their mobile device or computer hacked. Almost one in three under 30 (31 per cent) has been hacked, although of those in their 50s, only one in ten (11 per cent) said they are a hacking victim.

16. Digital theft is the new reality: Nearly three out of five (59 per cent) think having their mobile device hacked and personal information stolen is more realistic than having their car broken into or their home burglarised.

17. Careless digital behavior: Younger generations are also more careless with their personal devices, as one in three (34 per cent) under 30 years old has lost their mobile device or computer, and one in four (24 per cent) has had their mobile device stolen at least once.

18. Passwords: One in ten (11 per cent) said they never change their passwords for their mobile apps, while another three out of ten (29 per cent) use the same password for the majority of their apps. Fewer than one in five (17 per cent) use a different password for every app.

Based on research involving more than 2,000 business and IT professionals at companies from various industries in ten countries worldwide, AIR addresses the rise in use and significance of apps and how the global workforce manages work and personal business through use of apps at home, in the office and anywhere in between.