Shadow IT is the use of hardware, software, or cloud services without explicit approval from the IT team. The use of unsanctioned technology means IT is kept in the dark when an employee or department incorporates hardware or software, and it often introduces security and compliance issues.
But while creating different types of risk and expanding the attack surface, Shadow IT can be both a risk and an opportunity for IT and security leaders. In fact, it can help you align your technology strategy with your cybersecurity and risk management strategy.
Shadow IT is increasing as more and more employees work from home and easily sign up for new cloud-based applications. Recent stats show that 58% of employees are unhappy with their approved technology stack, and 32% resort to new applications without involving the IT team.
Think of why Shadow IT exists. One of the main reasons why employees engage with unapproved tools is to work more efficiently; they’re not actively trying to create risk, they just want a new tool to get their work done. Common examples are marketing tools to execute campaigns, collaboration tools, or file-sharing services.
Employees believe these apps will increase their productivity and efficiency, and ultimately benefit the organization. In this way, Shadow IT provides insight into what tools employees need to achieve their goals.
Read more: 15 Eye-Opening Shadow IT Stats
Rather than applying more restrictive policies, security leaders could leverage Shadow IT with appropriate caution to empower the overall business, while significantly reducing the rogue use of applications.
Shadow IT assets are not inherently risky or dangerous. The problem is that they’re being used without IT’s explicit approval or oversight, which means they can’t support them or ensure they are deployed securely.
In order to solve this issue, security professionals must bring Shadow IT apps into the light and use them as insights to create a more productive workplace.
Here are some keys to do so:
Get the playbook: Building a Shadow IT Policy
To embrace Shadow IT, the IT department needs to detect all the unsanctioned applications running throughout the extended network. That’s where network monitoring and automatic asset discovery capabilities come into play.
By means of our integration with Netskope, ThirdPartyTrust can help you capture Shadow IT records across your vendor ecosystem, map this data into your third party risk management process (TPRM), and automate risk scoring, so that IT can take the most appropriate next step.
With these capabilities, your organization can embrace Shadow IT instead of adopting restrictive measures, and employees won’t have to choose between security and efficiency.
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