Shadow IT: Danger Lurking in the Dark

Published in Member Communities on Friday, December 7, 2018

Shadow IT is just as ominous as it sounds. It’s when an individual within an organization accesses hardware or software without the knowledge of management or your IT team. Why is this a lurking danger? It’s because of the increase in employee autonomy to purchase applications or utilize cloud-based services to assist in completing their work. Whether purposefully or not, it bypasses the scrutiny of an organization's IT department, thereby leaving the company open to cyber threats.

The Security Gap

The major issue with shadow IT is that as employees continue to utilize unregulated applications and web services, the greater the gap between security and safety. Devices and unknown applications are utilized by people who do not have cybersecurity training. Users have the right to utilize whichever applications they want on their personal devices. However, all applications on devices owned by the company should be run by the organization’s IT department.

Contention Between Employees and IT

In some cases, tension develops among employees when IT frequently blocks what employees see as their ability to perform their jobs well. This is a dangerous dilemma that can crumble communication between the two groups. It is imperative that the lines of communication be encouraged. Instead of automatically blocking every employee attempt, consider having a discussion about what is needed to find successful alternatives. It’s important to have the right people on your IT team to make this possible.

Employee Turnover

When employees set up their own systems or download applications then leave the company or are terminated, it is difficult to track down where company data resides.

Staying Ahead of the Game

No matter how many security measures you have in place, if there is a breakdown in communication and an attitude of distrust towards IT, it limits their ability to keep the organization safe. Start examining a strategy to build a bridge between IT and your employees. Having the right people and process will help you to stay ahead of Shadow IT. For example, if there is an application that employees feel they need in order to do their job well, IT can create their own version or find a vetted alternative.

Having a system in place will help tremendously and create a happier workforce. Contact us about workforce security training.


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