The Risks of Shadow IT during Lockdown

May 12, 2020

The full article by Morten Brøgger was originally published in May, 2020 for Business Cloud.

Shadow IT

In recent weeks, circumstances around the Covid-19 crisis have meant that companies have had to pivot quickly to remote working. The trouble is, many organizations didn’t have a plan in place for this change. It’s understandable that they’d want to turn to market-ready, widely available tools to collaborate quickly from anywhere, however, there’s a real danger of cobbling together your business collaboration stack using consumer-grade tools.

This practice opens your business up to what’s known as ‘shadow IT’, which presents a threat to your company’s data every time a digital tool intended for consumers is used to conduct business activities. Because such tools aren’t intended for business use, vulnerabilities can become exploited unintentionally by using them.

In other words, using a personal messaging app or a consumer-grade video conferencing tool to share messages, information, and voice data simply isn’t safe for business. Using unsecured channels to move company data unwittingly also opens the entire organisation and its data up to far greater security threats.

Consumer-grade messengers, while handy, simply aren’t fit for business use. There are some real-world security consequences in using them for business, which are as follows.

Lack of control

There is no control over who has access to the information relayed across consumer-grade messengers. You don’t know who is ultimately reading your messages and who is accessing and sharing the information contained therein.

Lack of privacy

Data you share on these messengers may be shared with third parties, such as Facebook, which owns both Messenger and WhatsApp. This means that any trade secrets, business plans, financial numbers, or other proprietary business data shared are now across the radar of third parties.

Lack of compliance

These messengers mine your phone’s contacts, sending the entire address book to their servers. This means that they are non-compliant with business privacy regulations such as GDPR in Europe or CCPA in California. Not only is this inappropriate to your contacts, but it can have massive financial consequences on your business when it comes to regulatory fines.

Secure enterprise messaging apps that work well for the business, but also provide a sense of freedom and convenience, will make sure conversations and details are secure, but the individuals are still in control. This creates the right balance between security and ease of use.

As we look at the new decade and how the ways in which people work are changing, we need to look at security in the context of the business as a whole. When the choice is between investing in secure collaboration tools, or risking the whole of your company’s proprietary data by not doing so, this really should be a no-brainer.

Read the full article here.

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