Stop Ignoring Risks of Shadow IT

shadow IT 3Businesses today depend on a wide variety of technologies to run their day-to-day operations. Some companies prefer to keep their network on-premise in their office so they have more control over it, while most others are moving some or all of their business applications to the cloud.

Regardless of where your data resides, your IT department or managed IT provider should have a list of important protocols to ensure every application and device on your network is properly managed for optimum performance and to reduce the risks of a data breach.

What is Shadow IT?

When new applications, devices, software make their way onto your network without consent from your IT department that is Shadow IT.

The truth of the matter is, we as humans tend to gravitate towards the simplest solution. We have grown comfortable with searching and downloading apps online to help us do our job more effectively. And with the abrupt move to working from home in recent months, many users are finding workaround to easily access their data and collaborate with colleagues on files. As a result, businesses’ applications have moved from behind the safety of the company firewall to public Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions for everything from accounting, to marketing, to human resources.

This puts IT in the uncomfortable position of saying no to employees that request access to desired cloud apps to be more productive. However, for every app that’s blocked, there’s evidence employees are finding other, lesser-known, and potentially riskier services to use in its place.

what is shadow IT

Serious security gaps may result when an IT department doesn’t know what services and applications are being adopted. For example, a cloud app may not require a strong password and could open up any corporate data to serious risk of hacking, corruption without backup, or critical loss. “Application sprawl” is also a major problem which can lead to duplicate efforts and waste a great deal of time.

  • Find out why your users are circumventing the IT department with Shadow IT applications and devices.
  • Make IT more accessible. Emails containing new policies are often overlooked. Take the time to explain why these policies are in place and share implications of Shadow IT.
  • Educate colleagues on policies. It's important to ensure they understand these policies and why they're set. 
  • Stay up to date on modern technology solutions and make them accessible when a strong use case is presented.

There are many ways to reduce instances of Shadow IT. At ANP we manage your network security with several enterprise security tools and policies that require client approval prior to downloading and syncing new applications to their network. Talk to your managed IT provider today to find out what they’re doing to keep Shadow IT under control.

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Often the best time to address the negative effects of Shadow IT is when you’re getting ready to make a major change to your network, such as migrating to the cloud. Office 365 allows IT admins to easily control access policies across the entire platform from one centralized location. Shadow IT can be just as big of a headache in the cloud as it is with on-premise networks. It’s critical that you address this in the early stages of your O365 migration and get your environment secured and setup properly the first time so that you dictate which applications and what data is available to your users, not the other way around.

Is Shadow IT or other cyber security concerns keeping you up at night? Sign up for our Cybersecurity Risk Assessment to find out how secure your network really is. We will identify where the vulnerabilities are on your network, make recommendations on how to addresses them and outline best practices to maintain a healthy network moving forward. 

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