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Is Shadow IT really the problem?

Published: 03 May 2019

Today, applications are hosted everywhere – in public and private clouds and in enterprise data centers. Employees don’t think twice before signing up to them, consequently bypassing limitations and protocols in place from the IT department.

Most employees have good intentions when using Shadow IT. Applications used for cloud storage, task management, and communication can enhance productivity, and deployment of these is often faster, simpler and cheaper than getting the same functionality through the approved process. Adopting Shadow IT makes life easier for the user, particularly when an organisation has a painfully long process of approval, provisioning, testing, and security. No one wants to wait when they can be up and on the go within seconds. The user would argue that cloud applications give organisations the competitive advantage that they need.

There is, of course, a price to pay for this “improvement in business competitiveness”. When the IT department is unaware of the applications being used it means they can’t effectively manage, support and protect infrastructure, which poses compliance, data protection, privacy and security risks. It’s difficult to know where sensitive data is held when there is no governance or visibility of what’s going on in the network.

Shadow IT can cause hefty costs, and not just in monetary terms but also the reputation of an organisation, particularly when security breaches take place resulting in the compromise or loss of sensitive customer data.

Rather than saying “no” to all undesirable applications, organisations must rather shape policies – on which applications are sanctioned and which are unsanctioned, taking the time to assess risks and weighing them against business benefits. In all cases, gaining visibility is a pre-requisite to taking control. Knowing which cloud applications are running and who’s using them is vital in allowing organisations to reap the benefits of cloud applications, whilst minimising risks of unmanaged application usage.

This knowledge is the key to containing costs, managing valuable corporate data and getting the most value from business-critical applications and network infrastructure.

Application visibility at a glance

Highlight AppVis identifies network traffic at a logo-level and provides insights into how your network is being used, which applications your users are relying on, and where your data is flowing. AppVis lets you manage shadow IT, contain cloud sprawl, and ensure the applications you do use deliver consistent business benefits.