Shadow IT is a Train off the Tracks

by Forrest Allen

Information Technology (IT) is like the “tracks” on which a company or organization runs. If those tracks become misaligned, a company’s operations can be dramatically disrupted, similar to a train having to stop in its tracks.

“Shadow IT” is technology being used in relation to company operations which was never formally vetted, tested, integrated or approved by the business or mission leads within the organization.

Employees often turn to shadow IT to make their jobs easier. Perhaps a longtime team member is used to a legacy system and has difficulty adapting to a new business software. Maybe a new employee prefers working mostly from his or her mobile device, which isn’t currently compatible with your company’s programs. Or someone is simply trying to be more efficient and effective.

The U.S. Marine Corps revealed a life-threatening example of this problem recently, as reported in the Marine Corps Times. Marines were downloading software which, though developed by Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, was recently determined to have significant cyber vulnerabilities. The software is designed to aid air power coordination and was being downloaded to soldiers’ personal android devices, which are not subject to the same security protocols as formally issued tactical handheld android devices. Therefore, a new cyber threat entry point was now available into the crisis response tool.

Businesses have more twists and turns than a train track, but they operate most securely within their own architected and monitored software and hardware infrastructure.

If shadow IT use goes unchecked, a company no longer controls the performance, processes or security protocols of the software and hardware being used to conduct official business. In fact, 72 percent of executives admitted they were unaware of how many shadow applications were being used in their respective organizations.

There are a handful of solutions available to keep track of shadow IT in your business.

-Manage Engine’s Desktop Central software has a Software Inventory feature which helps maintain an inventory of software applications in your network.

-Spiceworks Inventory is a free service used to manage IT. Detailed information on network devices can be used to troubleshoot issues, get ahead of device glitches, and inventory products for audits.

-GFI’s LanGuard software provides a way to map your networks technology and discover network devices. It also helps monitor device performance and availability.

Take control of your Shadow IT today and prevent the weakening of your company infrastructure, ultimately leading to a disruption of your operations or worse leading to a cybercrime event the costs your company millions in lost data or time.

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