Shadow IT can be the cause of security risks and cause serious risks to compliance and work flow. Companies are always trying to find ways to discover shadow IT within their business IT structure. However instead of being afraid of shadow IT you could also look at it from a new perspective. By identifying and study shadow IT in your organisation you can identify needs and preferences of users. This will enable you to develop better authorised software for your staff.
Tech-Wales will give you a guide how to use shadow IT to your advantage.
Why do staff use shadow IT
Many employees are confident using IT and they will use devices, software and apps when it makes their work easier or more efficient. In their private life they have the convenience of consumer-oriented platforms and they also want that convenience in the workplace. An IT infrastructure that does not give employees all the tools they require to do their job will make them look for solutions to do their job. Employees are mainly judged on the results they book and not how they conform to the standards certainly not if those standards actually hinder them in achieving results.
How do employees use shadow IT tools
How to deal with shadow IT tools is best determined by asking users what value technology offers them and the specific problems it solves for them. You would do the same in the evaluation of new technologies, except that the shadow IT tool is already part of the workflow. If it turns out that your team can not provide these facilities, it is time to go deeper into the matter and find solutions that meet the needs of the business.
One of the best known examples of shadow IT is the use of public cloud services. Employees share files, give each other access to documents or use Dropbox or Google Docs as backup for important files. They are easy to use but also could be a risk when it comes to sensitive data. There are plenty of alternatives for those services via business cloud platforms that are more focused on security for example the option to encrypt files.
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Determine if shadow IT poses a security threat
After you have established that shadow IT is a part of your organisation, for example by monitoring the outgoing traffic on the network, it is time to do a security assessment. This can be done in the same way as with other types of software and services. Using a network access control system that provides real-time information about every person, system and device connected to the business infrastructure is an efficient way to discover shadow IT. In addition you can detect and prevent hidden threats that have crept in along your IT defense system.
Evaluate the potential value of shadow IT
The easiest way to determine the value of a shadow IT tool is to discuss it with its users. Your employees know more than suppliers, vendors, security experts and infrastructure teams to make the company more efficient and their work more productive. If they use shadow IT they probably have a good reason for that. The users can be involved in introducing possible alternatives and they can test different options. Make sure that the alternative tools are not more complex to use than the shadow IT tools.
Co-operate with the supplier of shadow IT
When you have determined that it makes sense to convert shadow IT into an approved business tool, you will have to discuss this with the developer or supplier to identify your needs and targets. Many suppliers have different versions of their products and are willing to work together to ensure that their product meets the requirements of an organisation.
Ensure the advantages of shadow IT are preserved
Once it has been decided that official approval of the shadow IT tool is possible you should ensure that this technology is also set up in a fully workable and safe state. Make absolutely sure that the main functionality why staff used the shadow IT tool are kept. Otherwise you will be confronted with an alternative shadow IT in the future.
Stay alert and keep looking out for shadow IT
Your organisation must always be vigilant with shadow IT technology. On the other hand organisations that have experienced a series of successful shadow IT implementations can come to the conclusion that there may be a major omission in providing reliable IT solutions. That could be due to a lack of communication and a lack of trust. No individual, team, department or company can work successfully if those underlying causes remain.
Tech-Wales to help with shadow IT
If you have discovered shadow IT in your business or organisation or if you want someone to check your IT infrastructure for shadow IT do not hesitate to contact us. We can identify and convert any shadow IT into trusted tools which will make your business more efficient. We have an excellent package of cloud computing services and business IT services to help you identify shadow IT and convert it to safe and easy to use software and applications.