Businesses are increasingly turning to apps to secure their assets and protect from cyber attacks, a new report has found.

The Okta Businesses @ Work 2018 report analyses anonymised customer data from the enterprise identity provider’s thousands of business clients.

This looks at the applications, custom integrations and millions of daily authentications and verifications from around the world.

This year’s report found that companies are significantly increasing investment in security and collaboration apps and software.

Seven of the 15 fastest growing apps for companies in the last year were security tools or have security use cases.

The fastest growing app in the Okta network was Jamf, offering a software that manages and secure Apple devices.

The five most popular apps are: Microsoft Office 365, Amazon AWS, Salesforce, G Suite and JIRA. The fastest growing apps in APAC overall included ServiceNow, Salesforce, Amazon AWS, Microsoft Office 365 and Slack.

Okta vice-president of APAC Graham Pearson said companies around the world are being forced to up their games to combat the rising threat of a cyber attack.

“This year’s report provides valuable insight into enterprise trends, as businesses adapt to stay protected against continuing security threats, and the changing ways of workplace collaboration and communication,” Pearson said.

“We’re seeing several trends consistent both locally and across the globe, as businesses migrate towards apps like Salesforce and ServiceNow, and globally we can see that businesses are further investing in the right ways to secure your business from cyber attacks, like strong password policies, multi-factor authentication and security tools like Jamf.”

Change your password

The report also found that companies’ internal password policies are letting them down. According to the report, more than 50 percent of the passwords used are too short, being made up of less than eight characters. Just under half of these passwords are too weak, meaning they are missing digits and a mix of upper and lower case figures.

This is a key area where a company can quickly and easily improve its cyber defences, with 81 percent of all hacking-related breaches making use of stolen or weak passwords.

“Even though many businesses deploy additional security tools, passwords remain one of the principal means of defense – and areas of weakness, if not employed well,” the report said.

The report said that businesses can protect themselves from brute force and password spraying attacks simply by improving password hygiene. It adds that multi-factor authentication is still the best way to protect from all types of credential attacks.

While Slack was still the sixth most popular app in APAC, many of its competitors enjoyed growing popularity, including Cisco Spark and Workplace by Facebook.
The report found that the number of monthly users of Office 365 increased by more than 90 percent in the last year, but Google’s G Suite added more customers in the email race.

Pearson said the report is a useful tool for businesses to see what their competitors are using and where they need to improve.

“The aim of this research is to provide an in-depth analysis into the ever-changing global workplace and give businesses insights into what are proving to be the best apps and services for productivity and efficiency,” he said.

“With this report, businesses can see what apps they should be using if they aren’t already, as well as determining whether or not their password policies would effectively protect themselves from malicious hacking, which is an incredibly important tool to have moving forward.”