“Shadow IT” is both a management and security problem. Leveraging managed services offers a potential solution to bringing it under control.
Shadow IT Problems
Shadow IT is any IT service that is accessed without the oversight of company information technology teams. It can be in the form of spending approved by business departments or it can be accessed by individual employees without the knowledge of their supervisors.
While the motivations behind this unapproved IT usage are generally good—employees or departments are trying to access the best technology to help them get their jobs done—it presents several risks from an IT management perspective.
First are the management risks. By definition there’s a lack of visibility into shadow IT. You don’t know what technology you’re using, you don’t understand your dependence on it, and you are vulnerable to outages if the service becomes unavailable. You don’t know the demand these shadow services place on your networks and other resources. In addition, you can’t manage licenses and usage properly, potentially leading to audits and penalties.
Second are the security risks. You don’t know if the technologies being used comply with the regulations relevant to your business. Because the technologies haven’t gone through any official approval process, you don’t know where their vulnerabilities are. Access isn’t being controlled properly. You can’t monitor for breaches because you don’t know where to look.
To resolve the challenges of shadow IT, you need to identify where it’s being used and then understand why employees are going around the official IT procurement processes.
Limit Shadow IT Usage
Network monitoring can help identify new hardware devices and new software services being accessed, as can employee surveys (that don’t impose penalties for admitting to such use).
Then you can take steps to block unapproved technology. Both policies and firewalls can help limit access to unapproved cloud services to prevent shadow usage. Data loss prevention tools and cloud access security brokers can limit the unauthorized movement of data to cloud services.
Eliminate the Need for Shadow IT Through Managed Services
Surveys can identify the reasons employees use unapproved services, but may not be necessary. The big reason for shadow IT is that conventional IT teams are a roadblock, offering limited choices of technology and slow approval and implementation processes. Other common reasons employees opt for shadow IT include frequent outages and poor problem support from the internal IT team.
That’s why managed services offer a solution to the shadow IT problem. With a dedicated team of expert IT personnel dedicated to proactive systems maintenance and support, the routine IT problems that frustrate employees are reduced. Managed services can also speed up procurement and deployment, allowing you to deliver better technology to your employees faster. In addition, managed services free up your own IT team to focus on business-specific IT solutions rather than routine maintenance, allowing them to provide forward-looking technology.
Contact CCS Technology Group to learn more about how managed services can help you solve your shadow IT problem.