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Shadow IT: What It Is and How to Deal with It


In today’s world of business technology, software-as-a-service (SaaS) has become a prevalent solution for companies to increase productivity and efficiency. However, with this convenience comes a significant challenge for IT departments: shadow IT.

Shadow IT refers to any software or IT system used within an organization without the knowledge or approval of the IT department. It often arises when employees use tools, applications, or services that have not been sanctioned by their organization’s IT team.

The use of shadow IT can lead to several issues, such as increased security risks, inefficient usage of company resources, and a lack of centralized control over data and applications. As such, organizations need to take steps to address shadow IT, especially concerning the usage of SaaS tools.

The following are some practical strategies that organizations can use to address shadow IT in SaaS environments:

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Educate employees:

One of the most effective ways to prevent the use of shadow IT is to educate employees about the risks and consequences of using unapproved software. Organizations can do this by conducting training sessions, sending out regular reminders, and implementing policies that encourage responsible software usage.

Implement a SaaS management platform:

A SaaS management platform can help organizations monitor, manage, and optimize their SaaS usage. With this type of tool, IT teams can gain visibility into all SaaS applications being used across the organization and take necessary actions to prevent shadow IT.

Develop a SaaS approval process:

Organizations can implement a process for approving new SaaS tools, ensuring that employees do not introduce new software without the knowledge and approval of the IT team. This process should include guidelines on how to assess the potential risks and benefits of new SaaS applications.

Regularly review and audit SaaS usage:

IT teams should regularly review and audit SaaS usage to identify any unapproved software or suspicious activity. This will help them detect and address shadow IT before it becomes a significant issue.

Implement security measures:

Organizations should implement security measures, such as multi-factor authentication, data encryption, and network segmentation, to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data.

Key findings:

In conclusion, shadow IT can pose significant risks to organizations, especially concerning the usage of SaaS tools. However, with proper education, SaaS management platforms, approval processes, regular audits, and security measures, organizations can take proactive steps to prevent shadow IT and maintain control over their technology infrastructure.

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