Evolving workplaces demand new approaches to application development security

Evolving workplaces demand new approaches to application development security

on Dec 17, 14 • by Chris Bubinas • with No Comments

Millennials think of and use applications differently than their older colleagues. As more members of this generation enter the workforce, firms will increasingly face pressure to cater to millennials' app preferences...

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Applications are now widely seen as essential tools for enabling maximum worker productivity. In just about every department, employees use a wide range of applications to manage, measure and maximize their efforts. 

To see the best possible benefits from their app deployments, business leaders need to pay close attention to the ways employees are actually engaging with these assets. And as Information Age contributor Ben Rossi recently pointed out, millennials think of and use applications differently than their older colleagues. As more members of this generation enter the workforce, firms will increasingly face pressure to cater to millennials' app preferences. To do this successfully and safely, new approaches to app development security will be essential.

Millennial habits
Arguably the biggest difference between millennial engagement with company apps and older workers' behavior, according to the writer, is that millennials are less willing to accept apps' limitations and more willing to take matters into their own hands through customization or workarounds. Critically, this holds true for all workers, not just programmers. 

Such a state of affairs can pose problems for companies and their IT departments. When younger employees hit roadblocks because an app can't or won't perform as they desire, they may alter settings in such a way that compromises the app's security or ability to comply with regulatory standards. Alternatively, these workers may turn to non-sanctioned apps or programs that can accomplish their goals, but the IT team will not necessary have oversight, thereby putting the company at risk.

"Tech-savvy employees – millennials or those of any other generation – will use whatever tools they can to plug gaps in core business processes," Rossi wrote. 

The fact that millennials tend to be more comfortable with technology increases their value as employees in many cases. Here, though, it can prove to be a liability if companies do not adapt their approach to application development, deployment and maintenance.

Do-it-yourself attitudes
It is neither practical nor desirable for companies to try to totally prevent this behavior among their employees – after all, it shows a significant amount of initiative, creativity and drive to succeed. However, there are steps that firms can take to minimize risk, according to the writer.

Notably, he recommended that organizations craft new policies that account for millennials' do-it-yourself app development habits. These should include "no-code solutions" that employees can utilize in the event that they run into any sort of limitation. This way, workers will not be tempted into modifying the company-developed apps in a way that may pose a security risk. This will satisfy employees' needs as a stopgap until the app issue can be resolved or a more suitable workaround determined.

Faster development
Of course, for a stopgap measure of any kind to work, the company needs to be able to deliver a more satisfactory solution in the near future. In this case, it means organizations must have the means of speeding up app development and improvement, all while continuing to meet corporate and industry security standards.

This makes static code analysis tools a vital aspect of any company's future app development strategy. Critically, these solutions allow developers to improve their productivity and decrease testing time and costs. By identifying coding flaws early and automatically, static code tools enable developers to focus on the actual features of their app projects. When striving to meet employees' needs quickly, such a degree of focus is essential.

By upgrading their development capabilities, firms can position themselves to deliver new, optimized apps to their millennial workers as fast as possible, increasing productivity all around.

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