General 3min de Leitura - 12 de September de 2018

Shadow IT, get to know what it is

Mãos masculinas digitando em notebook com um celular ao lado.

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The dynamics of the market and the agility brought by the Internet, have promoted a real change in the behavior of the great majority of professionals. Today, organizations increasingly value proactivity, ability to solve problems autonomously. However, this behavior that is so important on some occasions can cause problems.

In the longing for increasing productivity, becoming a professional more and more complete, many employees access software and applications for task management, scheduling, project management, file storage or any other type of service, especially those based on cloud, without the endorsement of the IT department. In this way they end up developing the so-called Shadow IT.

These applications and data that are traveling are generally not endorsed by the company’s information technology industry, so they stay in the shadows. When using, for example, a service in the cloud for file storage, it is necessary to evaluate whether there is a backup of this data, security mechanisms protecting the application, where this data is allocated, how the product licensing works, among other points that must be assessed prior to the adoption of the appeal. Any failure can mean the leaking of sensitive information and enormous harm to the organization.

Shadow IT, key reasons for adoption

Restricting this type of behavior and using various applications that support the work of employees may not be the best way. After all, these solutions usually bring higher productivity and this is extremely beneficial for the day to day workforce and business.

In fact, according to a Stratecast report, 80% of employees admit using SaaS applications in the corporate environment to aid in their routines and tasks. And approximately 35% of these applications are not approved by the Information Technology department.

The great majority of the justifications for the use of these resources, according to this report, is precisely the search for productivity, either through unapproved applications, but that work better than solutions developed and authorized by IT, or through programs that circumvent certain restrictions that delay the progress of processes.

Shadow IT and its negative reflexes

At the other end we have the bad points associated with Shadow IT, which can expose the company to various threats. This happens when the employee uses the company’s networks to access untrusted websites or to download and use unlicensed applications, using cracks that may be accompanied by viruses and malicious programs.

The intention may even be good. Employees know that, in order to execute a certain task, they need a certain application and therefore decide on their own to download pirated (application without licensing use), avoiding costs for your company and streamlining the process. However, it generates disruptions that can cause serious financial loss to the company, including fines for the use of unlicensed software / applications and risks associated with contamination of the corporate network by viruses embedded in cracks used in the installation of these software.

study by McAffe pointed to an alarming finding: 80% of respondents admit to using non-IT-enabled cloud applications and 15% of them have already experienced security issues during their use. This proves that technology analysts and CIOs must be vigilant and seek solutions that mitigate the risks of invisible IT.

What to do to mitigate the risks of Shadow IT?

The first step in minimizing the risks of invisible IT is information. Managers need to talk to their employees and explain all the implications of the use of programs and resources not authorized by the Information Technology area. Mainly showing that the intention is not to limit work or create excessive control, but only to ensure the safety of what is being done, precisely to avoid loss of productivity in the future.

Another issue that poses an even greater challenge to analysts and technology managers is the concept of Shadow IT associated with the practice of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). If your company allows the use of personal devices for use in the corporate environment, it is essential to develop clear guidelines that regulate this type of activity. While ensuring agility for the employee, using your own equipment, such as a notebook, for example, could jeopardize the entire infrastructure of a company. If it is a device that accesses other networks and is used for various purposes, the chance of being infected and spreading this to the internal network is high. In doubt, it is always more advisable to use equipment properly certified by IT.

Another important point is to constantly monitor the networks. This scan should be routine and search for unknown devices or suspicious actions that could become threats. In addition, it is important that the IT professional in charge of this role has the ability to understand and prioritize the threats that pose the greatest risk to the organization. After all, not every application framed as Shadow IT will do any damage.

If the real risk is identified in an application, it is essential that the IT manager seeks alternatives that ensure network security and also meet the needs of users. Safety and productivity need to go hand in hand.

Finally, it is imperative that any company with important data that needs protection, look for solutions that guarantee total security of your information. If you need help with digital safety issues, feel free to talk to one of our experts. Think Safety is Ensuring the Success of Your Business.

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This post is also available in: Português English Español