What is “Shadow IT”, and how is it risky to your business?

By RMON Networks | June 7, 2017

We all know that using information technology — programs, apps, or internet browsing — carries a certain amount of risk. Nobody wants to have their secure data compromised, but technology brings enough benefits that the risk is worth it. So you vet certain systems, you establish protocols, you update and patch your software, and you keep track of the technology used at work.

But what about the technology your employees are using that isn’t part of your official plan? We’re talking about messaging apps, Excel macros, cloud data storage, collaboration spaces, and even hardware like USB drives, smartphone storage, and personal laptops that you don’t control.

We call this “Shadow IT,” and it’s a whole lot of potential holes to cover!

Even if you ignore the dangers of having accounts hacked, data stolen, and websites vandalized, shadow IT can be very inefficient. You don’t control it, so you don’t know where important information is, or what work is being done. It makes it hard to avoid duplication of efforts and even harder to manage employee productivity.

Startling Statistics:

  • Enterprises vastly underestimate the extent to which shadow IT cloud applications are used by their organizations. An alarming 86% of the cloud applications that employees admit to using are not sanctioned by IT.
  • One major U.S. enterprise estimated that 10 to 15 file-sharing applications were in use, but then discovered that number was almost 70!
  • What are you to do? Well, your gut reflex might be to “crack down” on using unauthorized technology for work purposes. Swallow that reaction, though — you can’t stop it, and you’ll just harm morale. You’ll also drive usage even further underground; your people won’t be honest with you for fear of reprisal. That means that if a compromise occurs, you’ll be the last to know. Instead, make it clear that you support employees using the tools they need to get the job done.

    How can you support this new modern way of doing business? Look to the cloud! The cloud delivers business grade solutions that enable mobility, productivity and security.

    If your team wants to use cloud storage apps like Dropbox, perhaps it’s time to consider a business grade cloud file sharing solution like ShareFile. Implementing a business version of the cloud apps your workforce is already using, will give you back control of your proprietary data, and quite possibly get rid of your file server at the same time. Another popular shadow IT tool is a cloud collaboration product. Of course we all want to encourage collaboration, but you don’t want to give up control and security. Again you can offer a business grade collaboration solution for your team! Earlier this year Microsoft released a new collaboration workspace called Teams. Teams is a chat based workspace available with Office 365 E1, E3 and above. Check your license, you may already have access this solution!

    Contact us today and let us help you determine if some, or all of your technology can be moved to the cloud! Business grade cloud storage, secure file sharing, collaboration, and applications are the way of the future. We can help your organization identify and stay current with technology trends, and protected from “Shadow IT”.

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