Shadow IT is one of the most distressing problems for any organization, from small businesses to large enterprises.

It creates added challenges for IT departments and leads an organization’s whole network in jeopardy.

According to Gartner, by 2020- thirty percent of successful attacks on enterprises will be on their unauthorized Shadow IT resources.

What is shadow IT?

First, let’s understand what Shadow IT is. Generally speaking, shadow IT refers to any IT system, solution, or technology that’s being used within an organization without the approval and knowledge of the corporate IT department.

The most common illustrations of Shadow IT are SaaS products and cloud services like; Dropbox and Salesforce.

Why is Shadow IT a threat? 

The presence of unapproved and unknown software within enterprise networks creates a set of problems for IT departments.

Here are the three main reasons why Shadow IT is so dangerous for your company:

Lack of security – Your IT team is not capable of ensuring the security of software that it doesn’t know exists within the corporate network.

Unmanageable and Uncontrolled– With no knowledge that shadow IT products are present, IT can’t run updates and manage them effectively

Potentially Pricey  – Many unapproved services and software duplicate the functionality of approved ones, which means your company expends money unproductively.

Now let’s glance over the particular risks posed by Shadow IT.

There are three types of cybersecurity risks of using Shadow IT:

  • Data loss
  • Unpatched vulnerabilities and errors
  • Compliance issues

How To Avert IT Shadow?

Primarily, think of other company employees as your customers, because in a genuine sense, they are worthy of giving thoughts.

IT is there to support them all.

How can you present a product experience that is superior in class?

When IT forgets this vital support function, Shadow IT crops up.

Next, in the list is- you need to be sitting down with different departments in your organization to talk about their technology requirements.

  • Which solutions do they require that IT doesn’t currently provide?
  • What software and Web Applications are they currently using now?
  • Which cloud services do they employ to function work?
  • And what are the values they are getting from each one?

While it is understandable that employees drift down towards familiar or convenient applications, shadow IT raises significant problems. Here’s why:

  •   Data Blindspots

For one, shadow IT increases the illegal streamline of data.

If the selected platform fails to secure that content, for example, by failing to provide end-to-end encryption, that would create significant liabilities in the event of a scam.

If the centralized IT team do not know where company data is and does not have to lay down parameters for containment and exchange, it is also much harder to comply with initiatives such as HIPAA, GDPR and more of such.

IBM Report Estimates;

  • 1 in 5 businesses have suffered a cybersecurity incident due to unsanctioned IT resources

Sixty percent of organizations fail to include shadow IT when evaluating security posture.

Hidden Costs

Shadow IT resources do not only put companies at risk;

but also drain budgetary resources.

As per resources, these platforms are eating up 30-40% of IT spend; that number is closer to 50%.

Have you ever wondered how such a discrepancy is possible? It appears that CIOs have consistently underestimated just how prominent Shadow IT in their workplace.

It is reported that CIOs misjudge shadow IT reach by a factor of 15 – 22 times more. This brings to light quite the evident the forecast i.e., by 2020, a third of successful cyberattacks will take the IT Shadow resources stage.

Avoiding a Data Disaster

The most straightforward way of addressing Shadow IT is by educating your employees on the danger these platforms pose to your organization, colleagues, and clients. Offer training that communicates the high cost of a data security incident and ways to avoid them.

Also, craft a process for onboarding such shadow platforms, if they can be securely added into the network your company is working on.

By making your workforce part of this process and letting them voice their preferences, there are fewer chances of getting engaged in such cyber threats.

Few more means to secure the network.

Unapproved third-party applications- Restricted Access.

Approved platforms and vendors for employee reference list must be created.

to detect unknown devices and potential threats-implement network monitoring

Conduct regular data audits for a thorough sense of content created, shared, and stored

Don’t Permit To Shadow IT Put Your Business at Risk

If Shadow IT has become a significant problem.

Train users on the risks that their actions can have. Or formulate tools your company can see and share the applications they’re using.

Shadow IT is going to happen. So the more you can get your arms around it and support it, the sooner you’ll be able to lessen the risks and bring it out of the shadows for good.

Learn more about how you can educate your IT team by connecting the ITS Guru professionals today.