Technology is rapidly evolving. Mobility and the cloud are two forces that are altering the way employees do their jobs. These technology advances are also radically changing the IT environment and introducing new security challenges and threats.
Shadow IT refers to the use of technology within an organization’s IT system without approval. While deployment and use of these unapproved technologies and applications might happen with good intentions, doing so opens up new security vulnerabilities.
Technology is giving rise to all kinds of solutions designed to warn people of calamities before they happen. Printers automatically send a message to the manufacturer when the ink cartridge gets low, triggering an automatic shipment of new ink before the consumer runs out. Auto-sensing windshield wipers automatically turn on when they get wet, saving the driver from having to turn them on when conditions deteriorate.
Security applications provide similar solutions designed to alert IT departments when Shadow IT introduces a hard-to-see or potentially overlooked threat. Following are four topics companies might explore when deploying a system to uncover hidden risks associated with Shadow IT.
1. Mobile Device Management
The first thing companies typically want to know is how to get rid of Shadow IT. After all, it is unauthorized and eliminating its existence within the network is a natural first response.
However, eradicating Shadow IT within corporate networks is more difficult than might be expected, particularly with the widespread use of mobile devices. One of the most effective ways to address Shadow IT is to deploy a mobile device management application along with corporate guidelines on IT usage to identify and eliminate high-risk applications.
2. Enforcing Security Rules
The best way to enforce security rules is to study how employees are using their mobile devices on the company’s networks, including which applications are in use and what type of risk they pose. This can include keeping a close eye on the riskiest users on the network and paying attention to which apps they are using. Understanding the risks can help the company secure corporate information and prevent data leakage.
3. Leveraging Existing Technology
Companies have typically invested resources in systems and solutions designed to mitigate security risks, and they want to know which of these are effective against Shadow IT. Leveraging existing technology often represents cost savings for the company. Integrating a cloud access security broker seamlessly into security information and event management systems speeds up cloud adoption without risks to IT control and governance.
The question all companies have when it comes to deploying any new system is how much it will cost. The answer will vary widely depending on the manufacturer and product under consideration. However, companies should consider the potential alternative cost of a breech or failure resulting from Shadow IT. In all likelihood, the cost of the solution to prevent such an occurrence will be preferable.
Shadow IT is likely to become a greater security threat as technology changes the way employees interact with IT systems. It may not be possible to completely eliminate Shadow IT, but systems are available to sound the alert and help mitigate threats before they cause a major problem.
Contact us to learn more about Shadow IT and the systems available to fight this emerging security threat.