From malware to phishing, enterprise IT often turns to interesting terminology to identify and label cybersecurity threats. Shadow IT is no exception to this rule, as the phrase describes the unauthorized use of software, hardware and Web-based services in a corporate environment - essentially, employees are operating in the shadows, hiding IT solutions from the tech department.
The size of the shadow
While the term shadow IT has been thrown around for many years, the consumerization of IT, enterprise mobility and as-a-service solutions have caused this trend of using unapproved technologies to skyrocket. A survey conducted by SailPoint at the end of 2014 found that one out of five employees uses cloud-based applications, such as DropBox and Salesforce.com, without permission from their IT department, while another 20 percent use cloud services to share sensitive corporate data outside of their network perimeters.
"Shadow IT introduces vulnerabilities and creates risks to corporate security."
Some might suggest that shadow IT is the only solution to some tech problems, and it's hard to argue with them, especially when modern IT teams act as gatekeepers to software, hardware and services. However, as CIO magazine reported, by using technologies and tools that are unauthorized, staff members are introducing vulnerabilities and creating risks to corporate security. While typically that is a fact of conducting business in the 21st century, when using software and services in the shadows, IT teams cannot protect data.
Shedding light on a solution
Unfortunately, locking down employees is not the solution to shadow IT, as this will just stunt productivity and make some staff members upset. However, unauthorized use of cloud services and hardware will definitely introduce security risks, since staff members are essentially opening the door to cybercriminals.
The key to managing shadow IT is to focus on data protection. As long as corporate data is protected with encryption or tokenization, hacktivists, insider threats and cybercriminals will not be able to read information, and if they steal it, the data will just be random numbers and letters. Whether a hacker finds vulnerability and their way into an app or they crack passwords and get on corporate networks, data will always to secure. This is possible with CloudMask, making it the best solution to shadow IT.
With CloudMask, only your authorized parties can decrypt and see your data. Not hackers with your valid password, Not Cloud Providers, Not Government Agencies, and Not even CloudMask can see your protected data. Twenty-six government cybersecurity agencies around the world back these claims.
Watch our video and demo at www.vimeo.com/cloudmask
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