What Is App Fatigue and Why is It a Security Concern?


Employees continue to utilize more apps and web tools on a daily basis, with the majority of departments employing between 40-60 distinct applications. 71% believe that employees use too many applications, making work more complicated.

Many applications we rely on every day come with unique alerts. When someone mentions us in a Teams channel, we get an alert "ping". A popup notification informs us when an update has been made; and security or errors are alerted to us as well.

App fatigue is a real and growing cybersecurity risk. People become more likely to ignore notifications if they feel overwhelmed with them.

Consider all the digital alerts you receive. These may include:

  • Software applications for your computer.

  • Web-based Software as a Service tools

  • Sites where you have enabled alerts

  • Applications and tools designed specifically for mobile devices

  • Email Banners

  • Text Messages

  • Communication Tools for Teams

One employee may receive the same notification on two devices, compounding the issue. This can have serious repercussions for productivity and cybersecurity.

Not only are employees constantly being bombarded with alerts, but every boss who introduces a new app requires them to manage 191 passwords - they use no more than 154 of them each month.

What Can App Fatigue Do for Companies?

Employees May Neglect Updates

Digital alerts can cause employees to feel behind when they interrupt their work, leading them to disregard tasks that are not urgent, such as clicking to update an app. This type of behavior could result in employees neglecting important updates that need attention in the moment.

Overworked employees may ignore app alerts. They may click away from updates that come up, assuming that they don't have time or are uncertain how long it will take.

Neglecting to install app updates for a device can be extremely risky. Many updates contain crucial security patches to address vulnerabilities, making them even more vulnerable if not installed. Without these protections in place, successful cyberattacks become much simpler to execute.

Employees use Passwords (and they're often weak)

Password security is another potential vulnerability due to app fatigue. Reusing passwords becomes more common when there are more SaaS accounts to create, with 64% of passwords being reused.

Cloud data breaches are typically caused by credential breaches. Hackers can easily crack weak passwords, and using the same password multiple times can expose many accounts to attack.

Employees Can Disable Alerts

It is possible for employees to disable some alerts. Do you really need to be notified every time someone replies to a group thread? Or only when they @name themselves? Be mindful when turning off security alerts as this could potentially put your data at risk.

One push notification can be enough to push someone over the edge, leading them to turn off all notifications across all applications. Unfortunately, this poses a problem as important alerts may get mixed in with others - for instance, an anti-malware application alerting about a new virus could become confusingly mixed in with others.

What is the solution to app fatigue?

Going back in time and using all these apps would not be practical. But you can create a strategy that puts users in control of their technology instead of the other way around.

Streamline Your Business Applications

Fewer applications are ideal for productivity and security. By having fewer programs, you reduce your exposure to risk. Furthermore, having fewer passwords and notifications means fewer hassles.

To identify potential redundancies, take a close look at your tools. Many businesses utilize multiple applications that perform similar functions.

Consider using an umbrella platform such as Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace. These services provide numerous work tools with just one login for easy access.

Set Up Notifications in Your App

Users often struggle with deciding which notifications are essential. With app notifications, however, you can customize them according to user needs so they don't get overwhelmed but still receive essential messages.

Automated Application Updates

Automating software and device updates is a cybersecurity best practice that takes the entire process off employees' hands. This increases productivity by hiding unnecessary updates from view.

Security can be enhanced by automating device updates with managed services. Doing so reduces the likelihood of your network becoming compromised due to an app with vulnerabilities.

Communicate With Alerts in a Two-Way Communication Style

Managers might not realize that employees may refuse to turn off alerts for fear of getting into trouble. Furthermore, managers may not realize how constant app alert interruptions can impede productivity.

Establish an open line of communication with employees so they know they can contact your company easily. Explore ways alerts can be utilized effectively and find out the most efficient ways to use them to increase productivity throughout the day.

Do you need assistance managing your cloud application environment?

Today's cloud tools can be difficult to manage. Let us consolidate and optimize your cloud app environment - contact us now for a consultation!