There is no question that hybrid work environments have contributed to Shadow IT (the use of an application or device without the explicit knowledge of the company’s IT department). In a post-Covid business world, it’s hardly news that hybrid working environments are more prevalent than ever before. But are corporate IT departments able to keep track of all the changes? The heightened awareness of the Shadow IT problem only underscores that need, with its growth more than 59% higher than before Covid started.
One of the reasons Shadow IT has been able to take hold is due to the many people working from their homes or other locations. Employees self-serving their own IT needs can lead to less security and control over the apps they use. Now that we know it’s an issue, let’s talk about how to handle it.
Why Shadow IT Is Quickly Embraced by Employees
There are many reasons that Shadow IT is being utilized more now than ever. For instance, let’s say one employee is implementing a new CRM. To get the client list from the old CRM to the new, a large data file has to be sent. A cloud-based file-sharing service makes that temptingly simple; however, there are numerous risks and liability associated with transferring data this way — risks and exposure that the employee is likely not aware of.
Cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications can be made secure, but that doesn’t mean that the one your employee has downloaded is such. One recent survey shows that of 1,000 managed service providers (MSPs), 25% of the SaaS applications they had seen had been targeted by cyberattacks. This is why SaaS management solutions are so essential today.
How to Identify Shadow IT in Hybrid Environments
By its very nature, Shadow IT applications are hiding on your network — running unchecked, possibly forgotten, churning away in the background — and if they are, in fact, malicious, you can bet they’re working hard to stay unnoticed.
But Shadow IT applications have one very significant Achilles’ heel — they leave behind a signature that can be detected when they’re operating. That means they can be spotted and removed.
Fortunately, the best managed IT service companies have solutions.
We recommend that every organization take stock of their risk and exposure by having a Vulnerability Assessment conducted before it’s too late. Vulnerability Assessments will show you where you should be paying attention and whether or not a Shadow IT discovery is needed.
Combatting Shadow IT inside your organization can also be done routinely, on a day-to-day basis, through the internal business interactions that take place. Keeping up open communication is the best way to catch Shadow IT before it becomes a problem.