In the age of technology there are a myriad of solutions to choose from when you're looking to get your work done in a quick and efficient manner. The issue is, sometimes the apps you want to use aren’t the ones provided by the company and end up creating a security issue you might not be aware of. Now the people doing this aren't necessarily doing anything wrong by wanting to use these apps, they're just trying to be more productive. But by failing to inform their IT professionals about the unauthorized apps they are using they could be putting the companies information at risk for cyber-attacks.
We have witnessed roles in the workplace evolve with technology, so that no one person responsible for a single task but multiple. This change is why we feel the need to seek out these new and innovative tools in order to improve our workflow. This technology is available for use in order to help us do the things we need to do, but it requires smart and responsible usage.
The issue with Shadow IT is that it is often ignored within companies or not even noticed by upper management until it's too late and their data is compromised. Though it seems insignificant if employees are finding alternate apps that help them do their job it is actually quite a frequent issue in many businesses. More than 80% of workers have admitted to using unapproved application for their work, which is not only a huge danger to companies but also a serious headache for IT teams.
An IT department or company is trusted to monitor and ensure the security of a company's information. But if they don't have all the information regarding the software being used how can they do their jobs and make sure that the right safety protocols are in place in order to prevent and combat cyber threats?
Some companies try to regulate the software being used to be more streamlined. Usually when they adopt a software, it meets their compliance regulations and has been verified to meet their security needs by the IT department.
When an employee downloads a new app or software there is no one to regulate or check for security risks unless the employee informs their IT professionals. Streamlining can be done to benefit the businesses by keeping everyone on the same page as far as equipment or software and improved usability. But some employees may want to seek out a software or app that better suits their usage or needs. Some organizations try to combat this by providing corporate devices with pre-installed application, but those can still be compromised unless you block any downloads.
Corporate devices may be outfitted to secure the applications or software the company expects their employees to be using while completing their various work tasks, but not implement the same safety measures for other app the person downloads. So if a handful of employees try a different app that promises to streamline the action without consulting their IT department they could infect the corporate device with a virus or leave an unsecure entry point for attacks. Non-secure application have no safety measures in place to prevent wrongful data breaches, to prevent data loss or corruption through a cyber-attack you should always consult your IT professionals.
The best way to combat shadow IT is to set up a system of checks when it comes to trying out new software. Informing your IT professionals that you are interested in a new application will allow them to do research and determine if it can be used without compromising the security of your business, or provide an alternate option.