Understanding Shadow IT Risks

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The sudden need for employees to work from home during COVID-19 has changed many businesses’ relationships to how their workforce uses new software and applications to ensure a swift, convenient switch to remote work. Unfortunately, downloading and using new information technology can put your entire enterprise at risk. IT teams already have a name for it: shadow IT risks, which refers to the use of new information technology devices, systems, software, applications, and service without first seeking out IT approval and integration into current infrastructure. Employees who are used to skipping the fine print and accessing technology at home do not realize the major threats this can pose to the safety of your company. The three major concerns with shadow IT are:

Damaged Financial Goals

Although staff downloading applications to improve their own productivity at home happens with good intentions, these choices can ultimately damage financial forecasts and goals due to extra IT expenses. When your IT team does not know that there are new software and services to be considered, they have no ability to incorporate them into updates and cybersecurity scans. Fixing unexpected errors is time-consuming for your IT team, bringing daily business tasks to a halt and losing potential sales opportunities for the company. Without proper communication about the different applications various users have implemented, departments end up purchasing redundant software – spending money to access services that are already available through IT-approved systems. It is important for departments and users to communicate about how they are accessing business materials while working remotely since something as simple as a free VPN can lead to increased costs and failed financial expectations for the company.

Collaboration Inefficiencies

Beyond the direct financial impacts of increased expenses, shadow IT poses further risks to company success when too many applications in use result in an inability for intra-departmental collaboration. Employees then have to battle over which software will be used, how data will be transferred between them, and the confusion of adjusting to another system. When time is wasted on communicating over data synthesis and new application navigation, business productivity diminishes. When the average company currently uses 1083 cloud services, it is extremely likely inadvertent shadow IT is causing your company financial loss through staff inefficiency.

Cloud Enforcement Gaps

Many responsible business owners are already educated on shadow IT risks and may feel comfortable due to their IT administrators already instigating a block on cloud services that do not meet security and compliance standards. Unfortunately, there is still a large difference between what these types of blocks actually recognize as dangerous versus what is. Education for employees and a strong team of IT advisors who know how to use SaaS management solutions to bring visibility into the usage, costs, renewal schedules, security, enforcement and policies of software in use will keep your company protected.Call us today at 404-999-0712 or visit us online to learn more about how our IT Advisors can help you adjust to working from home and keep you safe from shadow IT risks.

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