Shadow IT refers to the use of technology systems and software outside of the control of an organization’s IT department. Employees typically adopt these systems without proper approval or oversight from IT, and can pose significant risks to an organization’s security and data integrity. Let’s explore what shadow IT is, the dangers it presents, and how businesses mitigate those risks.

What is Shadow IT?

Shadow IT can take many forms, from using unapproved software applications to connecting personal devices to a company’s network. This can be as simple as an employee using their personal email account for work purposes or as complex as a department adopting a new software tool without IT approval or knowledge.

The Dangers of Shadow IT

The dangers of shadow IT are significant and can have serious consequences for an organization. Here are some of the key risks associated with shadow IT:

  • Security breaches: Unapproved technology systems and software can create vulnerabilities in an organization’s security posture, making it easier for cybercriminals to access sensitive data and compromise systems.
  • Data loss: Shadow IT can result in critical data loss, either through accidental deletion or malicious activity.
  • Regulatory compliance: Depending on the industry, businesses may be subject to regulatory compliance requirements that mandate specific security and data management protocols. Shadow IT can create gaps in these protocols and put businesses at risk of non-compliance and penalties.

Mitigating Shadow IT Risk

There are steps businesses can take to mitigate the risk associated with Shadow IT:

  • Risk assessment: This can be done to assess an organization’s current technology landscape and identify areas where shadow IT is present and potential risks.
  • Policy development: Develop policies and procedures for technology use that promote secure technology practices.
  • Training and education: Provide training and education to employees on the dangers of shadow IT and best practices for technology use.
  • Technology implementation: Make it easier for employees to adopt and use the approved tools they need while maintaining security and compliance.

Seeing the risks and what it is necessary to mitigate those risks can be overwhelming. Still, you can lean on experts such as Technology Navigators to guide your business to safety. With our help, businesses can identify and mitigate the risks of shadow IT, promoting a secure and compliant technology landscape.