The rise of Shadow IT
How to use Enterprise File Sync & Share (EFSS) to balance functionality, ease of use and IT security in your enterprise
Cloud apps such as Google Drive, Gmail and Dropbox are being used by enterprises at a higher rate than ever before. According to Netscope’s 2014 Q4 Cloud Report, organisations today use 613 cloud apps on average, of which more than 88 per cent are not enterprise-ready, meaning the security of the data stored and shared is at risk of being compromised.
While employing shadow IT solutions might seem convenient for staff, it can have dire long-term consequences for your organisation as well as your customers.
What is Shadow IT?
The term Shadow IT refers to IT practices and solutions used within an organisation without the formal organisational approval. They are solutions like Facebook groups, Evernote projects and Yammer threads, employed by staff to aid the collaborative process by enabling fast sharing of information and resources.
While the benefits of social media for businesses are no doubt great – better communication with staff and clients, instant customer feedback, increased insight into competitor business practices – 13.5 per cent of apps are at risk of access from third parties.
A 2014 BT survey found that of the 1,000 CIOs and “IT decision makers” surveyed, 76 per cent reported unauthorised Shadow IT practices within their businesses.
Notably, the study also found that Shadow IT solutions now account for one-quarter of IT budgets, leading BT to suggest that CIOs now “face a Darwinian moment” where their influence and power base is being eroded.
What’s at stake?
While compromised security and leaks might simply be an embarrassment to some businesses, organisations handling credit information, and medical and government records, risk heavy penalties for failing to adhere to regulations.
Exposing sensitive business information to the public or a competitor can also jeopardise your business’ intellectual property.
With businesses-targeted cyber crime on the rise, one could argue that CIOs and IT departments have never played a more important role within an organisation than they do today.
What you can do to safeguard your business?
The main reason that employees are taking it upon themselves to find ways to communicate, share and collaborate, is that there is no officially authorised and promoted system in place within the organisation.
This is often a result of poor internal communication where the IT department does not understand the needs of employees, while employees don’t understand that the the IT department can create or choose a system that is both functional and secure.
This suggests that education and communication between management, staff and the IT department is the best place to start.
There are excellent Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) systems out there and by embracing them, your enterprise can put in place a collaboration platform that is both efficient and meets legal standards of data security.
How to know what to choose?
The most important thing to consider when selecting your EFSS solution is that it should not compromise ease-of-use for staff.
Secondly, evaluate the security level required for your organisation’s data. What laws must you adhere to? Are you handling sensitive information such as credit details or medical records? Would a security breach affect your clients or would the damage be limited to the business itself?
Once you have established this you can start exploring the market to find the system that best suits your organisation.
Network Overdrive offer a range of products and services to protect your business and ensure your organisation meets legal requirements.