Third Party Apps: The Overlooked Data Risk
It is easy to overlook. You see a cool app and install it on your phone. You see the prompt asking you for permissions. It is not clear what the app wants to access or why, but you want the app. You click “Grant” or “Allow” and away you go. Some third party now has access to your contacts, you schedule, and maybe even your files. Whether mobile apps, browser extensions, or freemium apps, your user community is installing apps and tools and granting access to your data. And while most apps are harmless and well-behaved, one rogue app can be a disaster.
Not all Apps are Trustworthy
Not every app, and not every app provider, is trustworthy. And since most apps need access to some of your data in order to function, permissions should not be granted without some forethought. Preventing individual users from installing apps and granting permissions, however, is nearly impossible. Most small and midsize organizations have neither the money or resources to micromanage browsers and mobile devices — especially in our BYOD world.
There is a better way
Fortunately, for those of us running Google Apps and other cloud services, we have affordable solutions for monitoring and managing third party app access to your data.
If you are running Google Apps, we generally recommend BetterCloud Enterprise as our preferred solution for several reasons:
- The Domain Health and Insight Center provides you with activity reports, alerts, and advanced reporting
- Bettercloud includes a robust suite of Google Apps admin tools that are not available in the Google Apps Admin Console, including bulk actions, dynamic groups, and a user deprovisioning wizard
- BetterCloud monitors and lets you manage third party app access to any data within Google Apps, and provides a trust rating to help you determine which applications pose a risk
- BetterCloud monitors activity in Drive against business rules to ensure compliance with data privacy policies and regulations. BetterCloud will proactively modify permissions and send alerts to prevent accidental or intentional violations.
While there is a minimum fee for BetterCloud Enterprise, you can try BetterCloud for free for up to 30 days. If you like what you see, we will waive the setup fees. If not, you can keep running the Domain Health and Insight Center for free.