Now more than ever, businesses are concerned with the rapid implementation of cloud-based services. This implementation is referred to as shadow IT. The growth of shadow IT has enhanced with the consumerization of information technology. Shadow IT refers to information technology (IT) projects that are managed outside of, and without the knowledge of, the IT Department.

The main reason that employees engage in shadow IT is simply to work more efficiently.  Cloud services, especially SaaS, have become the biggest category of shadow IT. The number of services and apps has increased, and staff members routinely install and use them without involving the IT group. Users have become comfortable downloading and using apps and services from the cloud to assist them in their work. The organization loses control and visibility into the data migrated to shadow IT systems.

The risks include security and regulatory noncompliance, data leaks and inability to perform disaster recovery measures involving data in shadow IT systems when required. Overall, information technology carries a certain amount of risk, but shadow IT has its benefits. The bottom line is that if your IT department isn’t aware of an application, they can’t support it or ensure that it’s secure. Getting approval from IT can require time employees can’t afford to waste. For many employees, IT approval can be a block to productivity, especially when they feel like they can get their own solution up and running in a few minutes.

Nobody wants to have their secure data compromised, but technology brings enough benefits that the risk is worth it. So, you check certain systems, you can establish protocols, you can update and patch your software, and you can keep track of the technology used at work.

During this current epidemic brings greater competition throughout our global market and businesses must be agile to survive. The information worker has never been under greater pressure to remain productive, both in the workplace and at home. Imposing more restrictions and preventing access to tools on the corporate desktop is a pointless exercise, when everything the user needs is available on their personal mobile phone or tablet. Research the technology that’s being used and watch the headlines for data breaches or other compromises.

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. What are you to do? In some cases, you will have to crack down on specific apps, programs, or devices being used at your work; they’re just too risky. Done correctly, support for new technologies can create new opportunities for organizations to deliver better products into the market, faster and through convenient efforts on part of IT users at the workplace.

Shadow IT may be a little risky, but it also presents opportunities for employees to drive productivity and try out new best practices. If they’re using a piece of technology, it’s probably doing something that the currently “approved” tech is not. They’re also showing self-starter tendencies and trying to do their job better. And that’s always something to support!

Deploying technology solutions to monitor anomalous network activities, unexpected purchases, data and workload migrations, IT usage patterns and other indicators of Shadow IT practices. Proactive discovery can allow organizations to mitigate the risks of shadow IT faster. Looking out for potential cybersecurity risks on the Dark Web may seem like less of a priority when day-to-day operations are strained, but the right monitoring can mean the difference between a potential cybersecurity issue and a very real (and very expensive) data breach.  With  constant Dark Web monitoring for a company’s sensitive information means that victims are informed quickly that they’ve been compromised and can take measures to stop bad actors before they start stealing data, deploying ransomware or doing other devastating damage.

ManagedTEK is a managed service provider that provides IT security solutions and monitoring for small to medium sized businesses in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, we provide fully managed outsourced IT services or will co-source with your internal IT staff.

Get touch with us today for your FREE Dark Web Scan, or security audit. Or just give us a call at (707) 205-3727. Learn more about how you can protect your business. We will help you personally design a solution to meet your business need.

Change the way you view your business, your employees, and your security while you keep your business safe. Employee security strengthened through training. Technology made simple.