Shadow IT and Cyber Security

Any IT (Information Technology) applications, projects or software that are managed outside of an organisation without the direct involvement of the central IT department are referenced as Shadow IT.

Maintaining cyber security of applications and software that exist part of a Shadow IT distribution is typically a challenging notion for many organisations as everything is held outside of the main domain of the company.

Challenges range from employees mismanaging access controls, for example providing a software application more access than required to a lack of vendor support available.

Without realising, employees may share personally identifiable data, forget to update the software which may leave their system to susceptible to an exploit or an employee may overlook a key cyber security policy.

Detecting rogue Shadow IT usage

Unravelling which employees are possibly using Shadow IT products is a near to impossible task for security teams.

A trust-based strategy for gathering information on Shadow IT usage can involve sending a survey to each employee, with the goal of seeking information on what applications are frequently used throughout the company.

Workers can have various reasons for utilising unapproved software applications, however the goal for any organisation should revolve around protecting data and preventing compromises.

Managing Shadow IT to avoid cyber security breaches

Set an objective to establish a cyber security awareness culture by focusing on providing employees training where required.

Establish mandatory cyber training programs for non-technical employees who are susceptible to data loss by creating awareness about an information breach.

Any cyber security training program should be structured in a way which helps employees identify and prevent threats. A part of the program could centre on a case study of a Shadow IT software that is prone to cyber risks.

The cyber training program should highlight the consequences of unchecked software usage particularly focusing on risks and any reputational damage for the organisation.