With technological advances, new tools, devices, or applications are offered every day that can determine day-to-day operations within organizations. And while new technologies facilitate and improve any activity, their use may also have new implications for the protection of information.

In the organizational field, the use of new tools can become a double-edged weapon for IT teams, since on the one hand these tools provide various benefits, but they can also pose risks to information, one of the the most important assets of any company.

Nowadays it is very important to be aware that in order to ensure a completely secure environment you have to control all aspects of the network. But this is very complicated, not to say almost impossible, especially if there are points that are not even known to be there. This is known as “Shadow IT”.

What is Shadow IT?

Shadow IT, or Invisible IT, are the devices, applications, software, and IT services used within organizations that are outside their control or property, i.e. they have never been recognized by the organization and are sometimes recognized by the organization used without authorization by IT departments. This creates a large number of blind spots for company security.

This is mainly because the adoption of technological changes in companies are not fast enough to meet the current needs of users. They want to have the latest technological solutions and want it as soon as possible.

According to a study by EMC, the annual losses generated by Shadow IT are $1.7 trillion. The focus is that, if system weaknesses are not known to specialists, security breaches can multiply and exacerbate the onset of cyberattacks such as malware or ransomware, industrial espionage or mass theft Data.

Shadow IT Risks

Very often, the most productive and ambitious people buy and use unauthorized technology (Shadow IT) to speed up their work, increase productivity or make the job easier. But you may not be considering the serious risks that come with that unauthorized technology, and that these risks can threaten your career, your privacy, and your organization.

This shadow IT trend can expose organizations to data exfiltration, malware, phishing; it can open the door to hackers to steal the identities of employees and customers, steal company secrets, and cause companies to fail audits or break the law. And because people strive to avoid IT, Shadow IT is hard to prevent, manage, or control.

So what can be done about Shadow IT? How can organizations give executives and employees the apps and tools they want, on the device they want, without compromising security?

According to Citrix, a security company, one way to securely provide employees with the applications, data, and services they want is with a unified, secure digital workspace service. And if your organization gives its employees compelling apps, data, and services, they’re less likely to buy and use Shadow IT, allowing IT to control again and reduce complexity.

Shadow IT acceptance

Instead of seeing Shadow IT as a threat, companies should see it as an opportunity to motivate employees to identify the apps they want to use. This allows IT to enable applications that are compliant with company rules.

The Shadow IT can be a trigger for innovation, something that could help improve the efficiency and well-being of an entire enterprise.

It is necessary to embrace the idea that users should explore new technologies, new tools and new processes. Everyone will win as these users discover applications or services that make their work easier and transform them into more efficient sales or execution professionals within a supply chain.

How to accept Shadow IT without risk?

And how can you do this without that being a security problem? To control the Shadow IT there must be a balance, since absolute control of technology and software solutions in a company is very complicated.

To prevent workers from resorting to unauthorized programs, they must meet their needs, design affordable use policies and advocate for functional solutions, and they need to be educated technologically so that there are no doubts about the use of organization-approved technologies. It’s also important to educate them on cybersecurity so they’re prepared.

The information is basic, employee doubts must be resolved and the use of approved technologies clear, generating a clean environment in which no connections or devices are used outside the company’s organizational plan.

It is important to promote a collaborative environment in which members can contribute their ideas and express feedback on the applications they use in their work. Thus, with their contribution they will be able to provide more effective ways when designing a productive workflow.

Listen to workers to renew the software and provide the best digital tools for the development of their activity, do not skimp or try to save a handful of euros, since outdated software will only lead to upsets and increase the points Shadow IT.