Shadow IT—the unauthorized use of IT systems without express authorization of a corporate IT specialist—is a growing topic in IT management. While it’s not a new term in technology, it is pervasive and can have serious consequences to your organization if you aren’t doing your part to stay informed about potential cyber risks, rampant among quickly progressing IT innovations.

For practitioners in business, healthcare, or any professional field that relies on the innovations of technology to further their efforts and remain competitive, fast-paced advancements in apps, tools, and devices can be a great contributor to success. These exciting tools are accompanied by challenges, however. Specifically, that of avoiding breaches while IT operations become more complex to combat the accelerating rate of cyber risks. While these aren’t new problems, rather the realistic condition of today’s landscape of technology and IT management, they are, nevertheless, complications that every organization must face.

The effluence of shadow IT is a growing contingency of business operations today. With so many new apps and tools available, it’s become very common for employees to approach the complexity of IT operations by deploying their own shadow IT in an attempt to boost productivity and be more efficient in their work. This has become a huge issue for IT management, however, often putting organizations at serious risk for breaches and other cyber threats. It’s important to understand how shadow IT could be affecting your business processes, because it has become such a common encounter and can bring with it serious security vulnerabilities.

Determine the Risks of Shadow IT

While shadow IT is becoming a more widely recognized term, the act of incorporating unauthorized software still often flies under the radar of business operations—especially where there are no known practices to guard against possible risk. Many employees haphazardly use shadow IT without proper knowledge of best practices or the strict involvement of higher ups and IT operations management. Shadow IT can certainly bring the benefit of improved workflow, introducing automation and collaboration. Although, without consulting IT and cyber security departments, it’s impossible to know if the undocumented hardware and software is secure and in line with regulations.

Incorporate Best Practices to Safeguard Your Business

As a best practice, standardization should be implemented across your organization. Properly educate your employees to get authorization before implementing new software into their regular work processes. Although it can be quite a feat in the world of IT management, if you stay up to date with current software updates and emerging solutions, you can mitigate inefficiencies in work production before employees take optimization into their own hands. While shadow IT sources aren’t inherently bad, it’s impossible to know whether they can provide a long-term solution that will allow you to remain compliant without the authorization of educated IT professionals.

In Summary

While a prescribed plan of action that can adequately confront the problems that arise from shadow IT is difficult to come by, it’s important to have a reliable team of experts who know the ins and outs of the changing cybersecurity space, IT management, and compliance. Digital Forge offers a partner in IT regulation that extends beyond traditional IT solutions to analyze your working system, detect vulnerabilities, and secure data. We provide you with the oversight to monitor and mediate user interactions with apps and data.