Shadow IT - By 2027, 75% of Employees Will Acquire
or Create Technology Outside IT’s Visibility

Uncover the growing challenge of Shadow IT – By 2027, 75% of employees will adopt tech beyond IT’s view. Stay informed about Shadow IT trends.

Shadow IT - By 2027, 75% of Employees Will Acquire or Create Technology Outside IT’s Visibility

“Shadow IT” is gaining prominence as more organisations grapple with its implications. Shadow IT refers to employees acquiring, utilising, and sometimes even creating technology solutions without the formal approval or oversight of the IT department.

This phenomenon is akin to a shadow lurking just beyond the visibility of the IT team. While the concept of employees taking the initiative in adopting new tools and technologies might seem optimistic, it can also pose substantial risks and challenges to an organisation’s overall cybersecurity, compliance, and operational efficiency.

As the modern workplace becomes increasingly digital, the prevalence of Shadow Information Technology is on the rise. Employees are more tech-savvy than ever, and many are eager to streamline their workflow by adopting the latest apps and software, often without considering the potential ramifications. The allure of instant solutions and enhanced productivity often overshadows data security and compliance concerns.

Statistics indicate that the use of Shadow Tech is widespread. A recent study predicts that by 2027, 75% of employees in various organisations will engage in Shadow Information Technology activities. This figure is not surprising, given that technology has become deeply ingrained in every aspect of business operations. From project management and communication tools to cloud services and mobile apps, there’s plenty of innovative solutions that employees can access independently.

Shadow Information Technology isn’t merely a transient trend; it’s a sign of the times in the ever-connected, technology-driven business world. As more employees become digital pioneers, IT departments must adapt and develop strategies that balance innovation and risk management.

Shadow IT: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS Cloud Services

As organisations continue to digitise and embrace cloud technology, one facet of Shadow Information Technology that stands out prominently is the unregulated use of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud services.

This subheading in our exploration of Shadow IT focuses on the extensive world of cloud services, a prime area where employees are sidestepping IT oversight and creating their technology solutions. The appeal of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS is evident; they offer agility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. However, without proper governance, they can introduce significant vulnerabilities.

Employees are drawn to IaaS for its on-demand infrastructure provisioning. Services like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud provide potent tools for development and data storage, and these are easily accessible for individuals and teams who need the resources for projects or experiments. However, the convenience of IaaS can lead to security and compliance gaps when unmonitored.

PaaS, on the other hand, enables developers to build, deploy, and scale applications. This empowers tech-savvy employees to create applications quickly, skipping the traditional IT development processes. Tools like Google App Engine and Heroku have popularised PaaS and given users more control over their applications. Nonetheless, this newfound freedom can sometimes result in unapproved software and unintended security vulnerabilities.

SaaS, the most pervasive type of cloud service, presents its unique challenges. While cloud applications like Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, and Slack can significantly enhance productivity, they also pose data security and compliance risks. Employees often subscribe to SaaS services without IT’s knowledge, potentially causing critical data to reside outside the corporate network.

Valuable Insights Into New Trends And Opinions Related to Combating Shadow IT

In the ongoing battle against Shadow IT, staying ahead of emerging trends and understanding evolving perspectives is crucial. Shadow Information Technology continues challenging organisations, pushing them to adapt and innovate their visibility, management, and governance strategies.

This subheading will explore the latest insights and trends in combating Shadow IT. These perspectives are essential for organisations looking to address the phenomenon as it evolves effectively:

  • Zero Trust and Identity Management: As Shadow IT blurs the lines of traditional network boundaries, adopting a Zero Trust security model has become more critical. Trust is no longer tied to network location; identity and authentication play a central role. This trend emphasises the need for robust identity and access management solutions to control and monitor who accesses what resources, regardless of their physical location or device.
  • AI-Powered Visibility and Control: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are valuable allies in the fight against Shadow IT. These technologies can analyse network traffic patterns and identify unusual behaviours or unauthorised applications in real time, helping IT teams respond swiftly to potential Shadow IT incidents.
  • User Education and Engagement: Many organisations recognise that engagement and education are critical to their IT strategies. They’re implementing training programs and communication initiatives to inform employees about the risks of Shadow Information Technology and encourage them to report unauthorised applications they may be using.
  • Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs): CASBs are becoming indispensable in addressing Shadow IT, providing security measures such as data loss prevention, threat protection, and access control for cloud applications. They allow organisations to manage and secure their SaaS applications and the data that resides within them.
  • Holistic Security Posture: Organizations are taking a more holistic approach to cybersecurity, encompassing Shadow IT. This includes integrating solutions that can identify and mitigate risks at various stages of an application’s lifecycle, from development and deployment to maintenance and decommissioning.

Ensure Organisations Are Equipped With Effective Strategies to Safeguard Against Unauthorised Technology Usage

In the relentless battle against Shadow Information Technology, organisations must use practical strategies to safeguard against unauthorised technology usage. The proliferation of Shadow Information Technology is a pressing concern, with the prediction that by 2027, 75% of employees will acquire or create technology outside IT’s visibility. To mitigate this growing threat, organisations must proactively manage, secure, and govern their technology ecosystem. Here’s how they can achieve this:

  1. Comprehensive Visibility: The first step in countering Shadow Information Technology is to gain comprehensive visibility into the technology landscape. This includes all the applications and services in use across the organisation. Advanced monitoring and discovery tools are essential for identifying unauthorised applications, devices, and cloud services.
  2. Educating the Workforce: Employees often unknowingly contribute to Shadow IT using unauthorised applications or devices for convenience. It is essential to educate the workforce about this risk and the importance of adhering to the organisation’s technology policies. Regular training and awareness programs can significantly reduce the prevalence of unapproved technology usage.
  3. Data Loss Prevention: Implementing robust data loss prevention (DLP) measures is critical. DLP tools help organisations identify and protect sensitive data stored on-premises or in the cloud. Organisations can prevent the inadvertent exposure of critical information by having these safeguards in place.
  4. Governance and Policy Enforcement: A clear technology usage policy should be established and consistently enforced. It should define acceptable technology practices and the consequences of violating these policies. This governance framework helps create a security-conscious culture within the organisation.
  5. Shadow IT Discovery Tools: It is pivotal to invest in Shadow Information Technology discovery tools. These tools continuously scan network traffic and endpoints to identify unapproved technology usage. When such usage is detected, these tools trigger alerts and, in some cases, can automatically block or quarantine unauthorised applications.
  6. Collaboration with Business Units: IT departments must collaborate with business units and departments. Understanding their technology needs and requirements allows IT to provide or approve solutions that meet business objectives while adhering to security and compliance standards.

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