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Enterprises are being infiltrated by ‘zombie’ apps

Any IT department will eventually have applications that nobody uses. Unfortunately, companies often don't have a standard practice for reviewing what applications are still used in their businesses, leading to “zombie applications” which do not provide any real benefit to the company but still represent a very large percentage of operating costs for the organisation. Christina Farr writes about how IT departments may have thousands of unused applications, and how these applications may result in decreased IT performance and perhaps even an increased IT security risk. After all, it's hard enough to make sure that your often-used applications are secure. Those that are less visible are less likely to receive the same treatment, causing gaps in security and in monitoring – a great back-door for hackers and other risks. The article goes on to list some of the findings made by a survey conducted by Harris Interactive:

  • 52 percent of respondents estimate that slow, crashed, or unresponsive applications cost their business at least hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars per year. 31 percent said that it cost them tens of thousands of dollars per year.
  • In a typical day, a majority (57 percent) use fewer than half of their total applications, while 28 percent said they use fewer than 50 apps
  • 58 percent of respondents say the performance of applications has a major impact on the performance of their business.

Consider the ramifications of a pervasive “zombie application” culture in your workplace : outside of having millions of dollars be wasted on things that nobody uses, you could also be (if automatic updates are enabled), allowing a swinging door access for malware to infect more important applications and potentially cost even more than what is being lost on the zombie applications of your company.
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