How to Reduce the Risk of Shadow IT and Stay Secure

Shadow IT, the use of devices, systems or software applications by staff, without IT department approval has been steadily growing over the last 10 years. Back in 2012, an RSA study reported that 35% of staff felt like they needed to work around their company’s security policies.

According to Gartner, a third of successful attacks on enterprise organisations will come through their shadow IT resources.

Understanding The Causes

The global pandemic arrived so rapidly that it left many IT security managers with little time to react and provide remote workers with the same enterprise-grade collaboration and videoconferencing tools to use from home.

Some organisations took advantage of free tools available such as Zoom, but now face issues such as free licenses expiring or the need to upgrade from a consumer-grade solution that does not have the level of security and encryption required for enterprise communications.

A lot of staff suddenly found themselves scrambling to work, meet and collaborate on projects from home, ended up adopting their own tools such as Whatsapp or Facetime, leading to a fragmented and insecure ecosystem and shadow IT.

Many popular consumer apps aren’t really suitable for enterprise use. They have issues of reliability with aspects like video or call quality being variable or even the app not being available at a crucial moment.

Enterprise videoconferencing solutions from a legitimate solutions provider come with a service level agreement (SLA) and uptime guarantees. This is essential when you are relying on videoconferencing for key communications between teams, clients, partners, investors or other important stakeholders.

Another likely cause of Shadow IT is poor user experience. Some solutions were designed or implemented to primarily be used in meeting spaces. Even before the pandemic many of these solutions didn’t take into account the rise or variation of devices now used in the modern workplace.

While it was possible for IT to give their remote staff the chosen platform to use, they may have found the application too complicated or not user friendly, and while working at home switched to their preferred choice of consumer application.

The Solution

We’ve seen that there are many causes of Shadow IT, and from understanding these we can mitigate the risk, and therefore reduce security risks. Your staff are fundamentally trying to get their jobs done and be more efficient. If you are seeing a rise in your organisation of Shadow IT, it will be worth reviewing the solutions you have available and understanding why staff prefer alternatives.

When it comes to crucial enterprise systems such as videoconferencing and collaboration, make sure they have the following attributes:

  • Easy to use – Understand and protect your users familiar workflows, ensure your solutions are clear and easy to use.
  • Completely Secure – Ensure your solution has enterprise grade encryption end-to-end and comes with a robust and transparent data privacy policy.
  • Robust SLA – Enterprise grade solutions should have a proper SLA providing you with a single point of contact for support.
  • Management & Metrics – Ensure your solution can be centrally managed and monitored with proper control over users and access.
  • Reliable and High Quality – Ensure your solution comes with a good uptime guarantee and provides your staff with high quality and reliable communications.
  • Integrates Well – Ensure the solution integrates not only with your internal systems such as Outlook and Exchange, but also that it will support seamless connections with your external clients, suppliers or partners.

If you are worried about Shadow IT or your solution is need of a refresh, please come and have a chat with us at Videocall. We help organisations create videoconferencing, AV and collaboration solutions that are secure, easy to use and come with some of the best-in-class support and SLA options.