Shadow IT

How Can Your Organisation Fight Against Shadow IT?

  • By The Cloud Factory
  • August 18, 2022

As the name implies, ‘Shadow IT’ refers to the use of non-approved technology in an enterprise without the knowledge of IT managers. It is perceived negatively because it can pose significant security risks for organisations. A study by the Research from Everest Group hinted at the menace of Shadow IT. It says that Shadow IT is more than 50% of IT spending. Gartner predicts that one-third of cyberattacks will be due to Shadow IT resources.

The Shadow IT: Risks Galore

The risks of shadow IT comes at three levels:

First, when unsupported hardware and software are not subject to the same security measures applied to supported technologies, it can lead to various security risks.

Second, using unsupported technologies can negatively affect the user experience of other employees by impacting bandwidth and creating situations in which network or software application protocols conflict.

Third, it can also become a compliance concern when, for example, an employee stores corporate data in their personal Dropbox account.

The Rise of Shadow IT in The Hybrid Work Era

Though using unidentified applications and devices has posed a security threat for enterprises, the risk is even greater now with the rise of hybrid workplace culture. With the advent of home offices intruding into corporate networks, the vulnerabilities have increased suddenly. Although employees love the hybrid setup, they are unhappy with their company’s technology, and that’s when they usually turn to alternatives.

A study found 61% of employees are not delighted with their company’s technologies and workplace tools as they were either buggy or unreliable. Also, these systems offer inconsistent experience and they do not integrate well with other tools and technologies.

That’s where employees start using their own devices and apps, which makes the matters worse as it reduces the visibility of the IT networks. As a result, IT managers often lose sight of what’s happening in their network like what users are doing in the network, who is accessing what and what kind of data is flowing inside the networks. They cannot track and monitor audit logs. The situation is not at all healthy from the enterprise security point of view.

The problem with the cloud-based system is that the data flows in the network everywhere uninterrupted and can be accessed by anybody if not controlled. However, for that to happen, IT managers need complete visibility to every device, hardware, software, user and network flow at the granular level. In short, you need full visibility of the unknown of your network.

Defending From Shadow IT: What You Need to Do

Enterprises that have migrated to the cloud or planning to adopt the cloud needs to understand their overall cloud posturing across SaaS apps and IT infrastructure. In case you are already using cloud apps to your portfolio of network services, it is high time you understand the shadow IT risks and make a comprehensive plan to secure your network.

Protecting from shadow IT risks requires a comprehensive framework. Some of the suggestions that can help:

  • Identify the visibility of cloud-based applications, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) used by your organization. Investigate usage patterns, assess the risk levels and business readiness of SaaS apps.

  • Identify and map your cloud environment and the cloud apps clearly.

  • Get control of the authority of sanctioning apps in your enterprise cloud using conditional app control protection for real-time visibility.

  • Use a system like Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps that tells you how risky the app is based on 80 parameters.

  • Shield your sensitive information from unauthorized access at rest.

  • Understand, classify, and protect the exposure of sensitive information.

  • Automate policies to apply controls in real time across all your cloud apps.

  • Detect anomalies across cloud apps and identify high-risk usage patterns to limit the risk to your organization.

  • Deploy API-based app connectors for enhanced app governance and visibility. Using a Defender for Cloud Apps is recommended. Since its app has own framework and API limitations, optimizing the use of APIs is critical to ensure optimum performance.

  • Check your cloud apps to make sure they comply with relevant regulations and industry standards.

  • Stop data leaks to unapproved applications, and limit access to regulated data.

Final Words

As more business activities continue to take place in the cloud with the rise of hybrid workplaces, benefits are gained—from cost savings to flexibility and mobility. However, with shadow IT comes a challenge for IT departments. The way to reduce shadow IT risks also depends on how enterprises identify the problems and take appropriate measures to deal with them. Also, you need to use a system like Defender for Cloud Apps that is specifically designed to tackle the Shadow IT menace by adopting a more holistic approach to manage this problem.

At The Cloud Factory, we have a team of experts who understand Shadow IT risks well and can suggest ways to manage the situation by implementing robust solution like Defender for Cloud Apps.

Share your requirements on and we will be happy to assist you securing your network.