This year has been particularly challenging for us all. COVID-19 has offered little rest bite for the general public and businesses alike, both have had to adapt to a different way of doing things. Businesses have had to change the way they work to accommodate legislation and ensure the safety of their employees. This led many to make a transition to a staff force with the majority working remotely practically overnight.
The need for a good quality of remote working has never been more important, the very survival of businesses across the country are now relying upon these tools to pull them through the worst health crisis in a generation.
For a business to survive, the importance of managing the IT infrastructure cannot be stressed enough. Having a good quality of IT infrastructure will put you in good stead to approach remote working with a positive attitude.
‘Shadow IT’ has become a serious problem for employers with employees using it more and more often. What is Shadow IT? How can it affect my business?
Shadow IT is the use of IT-related hardware or software by a department or individual without the knowledge of the management within the organisation.
In the office setting software, hardware, and network services are properly protected and licensed with authorization protocols to ensure access only to authorized individuals. With employees working predominantly from home due to the current climate, there is always the risk of them making up their own minds as to which tools they use to carry out their daily tasks and responsibilities. Usual practice says that personnel store the company data in a secure place, but should Shadow IT creep in to the business, you will find employees have begun using non-company IT services instead to store sensitive data; free or non-commercial apps such as Dropbox, WeTransfer or WhatsApp to share work-related information. This is a serious problem for businesses.
As these applications are in use without the knowledge of the management, they are being used outside of the remit of control of the business. This means that confidential or sensitive information is being stored in IT services that may be insecure or are holding data outside of the organisation’s regulatory obligations. For example, Dropbox a consumer cloud storage solution is based within the United States – if your team choose to use this product, data is being held out of the country.
Why do employees choose to use Shadow IT?
Most are simply not educated on the problems that can be caused by using IT services out of the organisation’s control. If your team lack the IT tools they feel that they need to conduct their day to day work, they will go looking for a tool that can plug the gap.
You may well have already provided ample tools for your team to use, but they may simply not be aware of how to use them properly, so will seek to use a familiar IT service to them which in most cases will be a basic consumer-based product.
Or, you may have an IT requirement that you have not considered and rather than voice the requirement within the business, the employee/s have taken it upon themselves to source an application they believe fits the need.
How to tackle Shadow IT
To tackle Shadow IT, we need to ask ourselves a few key questions:
How did they have IT permissions to install or use paid apps in the first place, do we need to make changes or review security policies?
What apps have our team sourced and using outside of the company remit?
What functions did these apps serve that could be solved with what you have already, does the team simply require IT education or; are the apps perhaps better aligned to your requirements and you should take ownership and permit the services to use?
Answering these questions will give you an idea of the correct approach for your business ensuring secure, effective hardware and software that will stand up to scrutiny both legally and productively.
Is Shadow IT a problem for your business? Could it be? We are here to help!
At KDI we offer advice, service, and products that fit your unique needs. We are your one-stop-shop IT solution, our expertise in IT can make your work life easier and more productive. Whether it is ensuring you are secure, your team are using productive, protected, monitored tools, or that your team are educated to a high standard, KDI has the help you need! Contact us now!