Combat Shadow IT Shadow IT is nothing new. Individuals and departments will stand up rogue systems, applications, and infrastructure to meet their objectives and arguably make their jobs easier, more efficient, or provide services outside of the norm for IT. The question is why. There are many reasons – from budget, policy, resources, to time to implement – that support shadow IT operations. Unfortunately, while the intentions may be good, the results can have devastating results on an organization and its data security.

Getting to “YES”

For IT departments, the best policies to prevent Shadow IT – or manage the proliferation of rogue systems for that matter –operate on the premise on transparency and understanding of the business. IT departments should adopt policies of, "Yes I can help you," verses resistance to change. When departments understand and embrace IT policies that provide enablement, Shadow IT environments tend to dry up and new ones do not form. The trick to managing Shadow IT is balancing security with the requests. Just because something sounds like a great idea and may be easy to implement, it may not be in the best interests of the company. Setting up your own private guest wireless network off the LAN is a traditional example of Shadow IT and rogue access points. The balance is agreeing on the need, improving the business, and adopting a secure model to make it work. This requires a little give and take from both sides but results in a supportable and secure solution that can be the objectives of all teams.
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Managing Shadow IT Proliferation

For any business, the following IT policy adoptions can help manage Shadow IT proliferation:
  • Acknowledge Shadow IT is present and provide a grace period for the deployments to be placed under IT management with no repercussions. Potentially some great IT and security stuff may be in the field that can contribute positively to the organization if properly empowered.
  • Support an open door IT policy for new projects, advice, and help provide prompt guidance for design and deployment of new projects. Shadow IT occurs because of the roadblocks with traditional IT. If an open door policy is adopted for all aspects, the barriers are removed, and staff in other departments can be valuable allies.
  • Adopt a policy for identifying Shadow IT implementations using discovery techniques and classify their risk for independent business decisions. For example, do they systems contain PII, rogue users, or have vulnerabilities that are not being mitigated? If they fail, then they can be presented with reasonable options to let IT manage the assets or have the systems sunset.
Understanding what Shadow IT exists and the risks they represent is key to acknowledging and managing the issue. To that end, Shadow IT and rogue employees that create it will almost always exist. Their work does not need to turn into Shadow IT if they are empowered properly, the Insider Threat minimized, and the business understands why these problems where created in the first place.
Request a personalized demo now to see how our privileged access management and vulnerability management solutions can help you combat Shadow IT.