BY USING THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE

The ultimate elephant in the room, “Shadow IT” is the term used to describe IT solutions and systems that are used by employees within an organization without its authorization. As it’s impossible to protect what you don’t know is being used, any Shadow IT solutions utilized within your company could pose a significant risk to your entire network.

Created as a collaborative effort between the U.S, government and the IT industry to ensure Americans are prepped with the resources they need to secure themselves from cyber attackers, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is conveniently in October. So, there’s no more appropriate time than right now to approach the subject of Shadow IT and attempt to be honest with yourself. How aware are you about what’s being used on your systems? 

ASSESS THE PROBLEM

To begin to fully grasp the scope of how much Shadow IT is being used within your organization, you’ll need to start by monitoring your systems. IT asset inventory systems are great tools that can help with this particular task. They can assist in identifying what’s being used without your knowledge by gathering detailed information on everything running in the network.

The two main types of IT asset management (ITAM) solutions are: agent-based and agentless. Agent-based solutions will work better for gathering information from remote endpoints or devices that are not always connected to your network, such as employee laptops. Agentless is ideal for non-intrusive monitoring like analyzing in-house systems.

These tools can give you an inventory of the types of solutions your employees are utilizing without authorization. Next, it’s time to figure out why they’re doing it.

UNDERSTAND THE MOTIVE

Here’s the dirty secret behind Shadow IT. Unauthorized solutions aren’t being used because employees want to actively disrupt network security. If they are popular, it’s because they solve everyday functionality problems that your organization hasn’t adequately addressed or are more efficient than your approved solutions. When viewed this way, Shadow IT provides you with a roadmap for where your IT solutions are falling short of employee expectations.

Monitoring your systems is one effective way you should assess this. The other, more important way is to ask your employees face to face. If you want to combat Shadow IT effectively, shed some light on it by encouraging users to come out in the open and explain what your approved solutions lack. Not only will this give you the most transparent view into the hidden world you’re attempting to infiltrate, but it also will create a clear line of communication between you and your team and establish trust on both sides if no repercussions are taken for coming clean.

REPLACE THE TECHNOLOGY

Now that you understand why Shadow IT solutions are being utilized in your company, you are presented with a golden opportunity to rid yourself of it by replacing them with approved solutions.

But even once you’ve done so, the work is not over. These problems will reappear if you don’t dedicate yourself to training your team on how to properly utilize your new solutions and encourage them to approach you with future needs.

If you need help fostering the type of environment that can eliminate Shadow IT or are looking for solutions to replace their functions, get Haselkorn Inc. on your side. We are an MSP that specializes in providing the type of IT expertise that can create a perfect balance between employee satisfaction and organizational due diligence.  Contact Haselkorn Inc. and reduce your Shadow IT problems to a silly ghost story.