The Dangers Lurking in Shadow IT

By Published On: April 26, 2022

There is an unfortunate reality in which IT tech support is difficult to get ahold of or put systems in place that make it difficult to do your job. Therefore, it may seem beneficial in the moment to make some decisions without them. That way, you avoid IT wait times, maintain your productivity at work, and address your specific wants or needs to do your job. We get it! Unfortunately, though, this may come back to bite you in the end.

These practices fall under the umbrella term, Shadow IT. It involves any time an employee uses “IT systems, devices, software, apps and services without explicit IT department approval.” This practice has drastically increased due to the adoption of SaaS applications and cloud-based services, such as Dropbox, Google Docs, and Microsoft Office 365. Sounds harmless, right? Unfortunately, if the IT department is unaware, they’re unable to provide support, secure monitoring, or preventative maintenance. This can lead to data leaks, malicious downloads, or compliance violations. Security aside, there are also logistical considerations:

  • You could waste money if your team is unknowingly buying duplicate solutions.
  • Your employees may be unable to collaborate if they don’t use the same tools.

Take the Log4j fiasco, for example. If you independently decide to download a piece of software without IT’s knowledge, the Log4j bug may live on that software and corrupt your entire work network. But, if IT is involved, they’ll know to install version 2.17.1 of Log4j, securing your network once again.

“…while IT is no longer responsible for the physical infrastructure or even managing the application, it’s still responsible for ensuring security and compliance for the corporate data employees upload to cloud services.” To better understand the issue, we looked into KnowBe4’s research on the subject. They found that up to 48.2% of employees either use unauthorized file-sharing networks or unauthorized cloud services at work. The industries that employ Shadow IT the most are as followed:

  • Education
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Transportation
  • Not for Profit
  • Energy and Utilities
  • Government

“The findings from this research are very concerning because employees are exhibiting insecure behaviors that are putting their organizations at significant risk,” said KnowBe4’s chief research officer.

Thankfully, we have a solution. First, we will address your frustrations with previous IT service companies. Depending on your ticket and membership level, we will address your IT issue either within one business hour or one business day. Our on-site Office Manager will take your call and ensure our IT technicians are aware.

Second, we take the time to get to know your company’s departments’ needs, and desires. That way, our services are only a benefit, not a burden. On top of that, we can coach you on how to notice red flags and take preventative measures. As long as there is a secure way to complete your request, we’re more than happy to empower you to do some things independently while acting with the managed IT services stamp of approval!

Bill Hogan - Partners Plus, Managed IT Services and IT Support

Bill Hogan is the Owner and President of Partners Plus. He has 40 years of experience in the technology industry, specifically IT support services. Bill has spoken at seminars all over the country about network management. Partners Plus was selected by PHL17 as the best Computer and Information Technology Support Company in the greater Philadelphia area in 2018.

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