With so much going on these days, and security professionals focused on traditional security methods like antivirus software and firewalls, one of the biggest blind spots for organizations continues to be shadow IT.
It happens almost everywhere, and it can be difficult to prevent or monitor. But what exactly is shadow IT, and why is it such a major concern for organizations both big and small?
Shadow IT and the Risks of not Monitoring it
Shadow IT is just a term for IT systems, solutions, and tools that are used inside of a company without organizational approval. It is also sometimes referred to as stealth IT, but they mean the same thing. Either way, someone within the organization is using technology that has not been approved, whether it’s Gmail, Dropbox, social media, web conferencing services, or any other unauthorized software.
And according to a report from CIO Online, 40% of IT spend is on shadow IT, although these solutions can be helpful for employees, the issue is that they are often not in line with the company’s security requirements and are rarely monitored.
By having unmonitored activity on unauthorized applications, it makes the entire organization vulnerable to potential data breaches or internal data leaks. Today’s mobile-first employees further exacerbate this problem by using their personal devices for work. So what’s the solution to shadow IT?
The Solution to Shadow IT
Luckily, there is a solution to shadow IT, and it’s simpler than you might think. There are tools out there that can easily monitor an entire network for shadow IT while also managing and protecting mobile devices from unauthorized access.
For example, at Envision we offer clients network monitoring tools that allow them to easily monitor their entire network to see all applications and programs in use. That way, organizations can go through and decide which programs are authorized and monitor or block any that aren’t to help prevent malicious traffic on the network and potential data breaches.
In addition to protecting against breaches, internal leaks, etc., this can also potentially be a way for the company to save money. For example, if a company finds out that a large number of employees are using a particular program or service and expensing that service for work purposes, IT can then contact that company to look into discounted volume purchasing. Now, of course, that isn’t going to happen everywhere, but it can sometimes be a bonus in addition to monitoring unauthorized applications and preventing breaches.
Shadow IT might be tough to monitor and control, but when armed with the right tools, IT departments can make the decisions necessary to prevent the usage of unauthorized applications that can potentially put the entire organization at risk.
Ask your IT management company if they’re monitoring the network for risks resulting from shadow IT. If they aren’t, it may be time to find someone who can. Because shadow IT is certainly here to stay, the more proactive your organization is in dealing with it, the lower your risk will be. And remember, truly understanding what kinds of shadow IT are being used within a business is not just to eliminate the risks, it also gives insights into what tools employees need to work better and more efficiently!
If your organization is ready and eager to strengthen security, take advantage of Envision’s cybersecurity expertise to help you minimize the risk of shadow IT, all you need to do is schedule a call with a member of our team