While “shadow IT” may appear to be a vague idea, it is a common practice in today’s businesses, driven primarily by well-intentioned but overworked executives. Without the explicit consent of the IT department, shadow IT refers to the acquisition and usage of IT-related gear, software, or services such as telecom connectivity.
The popularity of cloud computing is causing a surge in the use of applications in the workplace. Employees can now download cloud applications that will help them be more productive and effective than ever before. Regrettably, some of these applications operate under the guise of shadow IT.
Because of the growing number of people who work remotely, shadow IT has become a more ubiquitous concern since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020.
According to a report from Entrust Datacard, 37% of IT pros feel their company’s internal penalties for utilizing new technology without IT approval are unclear. According to the report, 77% of respondents believe that if left unchecked, shadow IT will become a major concern at their firm by 2025.
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Here are some of the most significant shadow IT risks that every company should be aware of.
Shadow IT creates serious security gaps in a company’s environment, making it simpler for threat actors to gain access to sensitive data. The widespread adoption of digital transformative technology, such as SaaS solutions, makes it more difficult to detect security flaws, prompting security departments to implement cloud-based monitoring systems.
High IT costs
The inability to observe or operate systems has resulted in a considerable increase in IT expenditures for businesses. The fact that most IT teams’ budgets are already stretched creates further financial issues. Another drain on resources is duplicated, ineffective, or redundant functionality.
To accurately detect all risks before they proliferate and trigger a data breach, companies need visibility into their IT ecosystem. Since all unsanctioned devices, software, and services are hidden from the IT department, this is impossible. What they can’t see, they can’t fix.
Shadow IT also allows for less control over the software that is deployed on a network. The company’s IT team is then unable to control who has access to that data, leaving sensitive information exposed to former employees, malevolent insiders, and external attackers.
Unpatched flaws and errors
Patches are routinely released by software vendors to address vulnerabilities and flaws discovered in their products. Typically, it is the responsibility of a company’s IT team to maintain track of such upgrades and apply them as soon as possible. However, because administrators are unaware of the presence of shadow IT, they are unable to maintain all products and devices up to date.
Unapproved software and services frequently mimic the functionality of authorized software and services, resulting in wasted spending by the firm. Aside from that, shadow IT risks could result in real incidents, resulting in costs for damage control, fines for non-compliance with cybersecurity standards, and legal expenditures.
IT departments should develop a configuration management database (CMDB) to aid in the identification of how systems interact. Since IT is unaware of the presence of an unlawful application or piece of hardware, it is unlikely to be maintained or added to the CMBD. Shadow IT has the potential to wreak havoc on the delicate workflows that the IT department has spent months or years establishing.
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