Shadow IT is the use of any tool or technology (software or hardware) by employees for work-related activities without their IT manager’s consent.
It is termed “shadow” because it is difficult to suspect and trace its resultant effects and because most of those guilty of the act are not even aware of how risky this act is.
Shadow IT could be in the form of employees sharing company documents within the team with cloud-based file storage like Google Drive and Dropbox without the IT manager’s consent or an employee installing a cracked application to hasten their work process. The most difficult to suspect is when employees log in to their personal accounts on a company device.
These don’t look harmful, do they? Of course, initially, they don’t, but don’t forget that’s exactly why it is called “shadow IT.”
In some situations, employees do this because it’s a faster way to get work done and bypass the cumbersome procedure of getting approvals before using any software; they then resort to installing or using the software or hardware on their own.
According to Gartner, a third of successful cyberattacks experienced by enterprises will most likely be on their shadow IT resources. As cybersecurity is a top priority for IT managers, one loophole that should be addressed is discouraging shadow IT.
Most of these unauthorized tools are vulnerable, and they introduce this vulnerability to any organization’s system as soon as they are mounted on them. As a result of this vulnerability, an organization may lose critical data to an attack they don’t know where it’s coming from.
Imagine the Avengers roaring at the war front against an unseen Thanos!
It will always be a timebomb waiting to explode, except it is discovered and detonated early.
Should it have been “avoid” or “end”? Anyways, these tips work and would always help you manage a workforce free of shadow IT:
Most of your team members are unaware they are giving away the keys to the security room by using these softwares or hardwares. So it’s up to you to give them the necessary orientation so they would not only comply but see how dangerous it will be if they don’t.
Employing an effective mobile device manager (MDM) like SmartMDM can help you take charge of the apps that work and those that cannot work on your organization’s devices. With an MDM, you can detect unfriendly activities by simply managing your devices from a central dashboard.
Be available for your teammates as soon as they need any IT support so they don’t go out looking for alternatives behind you, as they are also concerned about getting their jobs done without delays. Apart from technical support, you could facilitate the purchase of secure tools the team can adopt instead.
Ensure your firewalls are as active as they should be and leave no room for any malware to creep in. You are the watchperson of your organization, and they are counting on you for utmost security.