·November 6, 2019

Shadow IT, what to do with it?

It’s been a while back (2013) that Mobiquity, a provider of complex mission-critical enterprise class applications, commissioned a major study on the use of proprietary IT tools within digital enterprise environments.

The results were remarkable: nearly 60 percent of all employees of medium and large companies in the Netherlands, it turned out, preferred to disregard the mobile business apps they actually needed to use for work.

Why official company apps were often unpopular was also revealed by this same survey. Business to Employee apps often lacked strong design and ease of use was often less than more customer- and consumer-oriented apps.

Mobile business apps also often fell short of the quality we are used to as consumers: Twenty-six percent of smartphone users and nearly 20 percent of tablet users who did stick with the mobile business app found that productivity suffered from their fidelity to the prescribed rules. The upside-down world.

Yet the same survey found that only 24 percent of the companies surveyed had a formal BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy in place.

But that was 2013. How does it stand now?

The Mobiquity study from 2013 was never really updated, but as recently as 2017, it was written that (according to Cisco) the use of the shadow cloud was 15 times greater than CIOs themselves estimate.

Put these claims alongside Brocade’s research showing that 80 percent of the 200 CIOs they surveyed regularly encounter unauthorized cloud or SaaS use – and we can safely question whether so much has changed since 2013.

The question is: just what is the problem with shadow IT?

Security and AVG

Legally, there are quite a few snags in the rampant use of private tools in the workplace. First, a jumble of shadow IT makes it difficult to connect databases and extend processes. But shadow IT is not just a pure management issue. It also often lacks oversight. There are loose tufts of information everywhere in places that people sometimes don’t even know exist – while the IT department is expected to maintain and secure the system properly. But how can corporate data be protected if the IT department has no idea what apps employees are using to process, store and transmit their data?

Shadow IT poses a serious security problem, and since the introduction of the AVG, that is something to consider.

What to do.

Despite the serious risks, many CIOs see little point in prohibiting employees from using proprietary cloud and SaaS applications. Shadow IT, people reason not entirely unjustifiably, indicates a need of the business that you had better meet, rather than deny that there is a problem.

Of course, engaging with your employees is better than banning. But the question that is important then: do you know what is really going on in your digital workplace when it comes to shadow IT?

No? Or are you not quite sure?

Then consider software that allows you to smartly monitor all the applications your employees are using. Using CloudConnected’s Cloud Firewall, the use of shadow IT within your entire corporate network becomes transparent.

As an IT manager, this gives you a clear overview of which tools are being used within your network, so you can also properly determine whether these apps fit the organization’s policy.

Truly unsafe tools (or websites that contain spyware) are of course blocked immediately, but our Cloud Firewall also provides the ability to see which tools are being used within your network. A great opportunity to start the conversation with your employees.

Want to try our Firewall free for 30 days? Then schedule a free consultation soon via this link.

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Don’t settle for less than the best

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