Facet Blog

“Shadow IT” Could Be Putting Your Company At Risk. Here’s How.

April 8, 2022

Do your employees use sites like Dropbox, Google Drive, and other personal cloud sharing services to collaborate and work on projects and tasks? If so, you could unknowingly be exposing yourself to huge financial losses.

“Shadow IT” is the practice of using programs and websites for work activities without the knowledge or approval of the organization’s IT provider or IT department. While this is an “older” term, the practice has become increasingly common as file sharing sites grow in popularity and upload speeds quicken.

Software like Dropbox and Google Drive can help your team collaborate and work together easier, especially at a time when many companies are choosing a work-from-home or hybrid approach for their employees. However, it’s important to weigh your options and acknowledge the risks of using these tools.

If one of your employees quit without notice today, or had to be terminated unexpectedly, would you know where all their important work documents are stored? Would they be on their workstation, a cloud solution your IT team set up, or dispersed on the employee’s personal file storage accounts?

It’s important to ask these questions because a situation like this will almost certainly happen at some point to every business. If important files are on an employee’s personal storage, they can walk away with customer data and other valuable information.

Not only does this open you up to the threat of a disgruntled employee taking customer data or other documents to a competitor, it also means that if their personal cloud storage is hacked, your data is as good as gone.

If you work in a regulated industry like healthcare, insurance, or finance, you especially need to be on the lookout for shadow IT programs. Doing your due diligence and putting in proper security and IT practices can save you from costly data privacy lawsuits in the future should you be audited.

As a business owner, how can you set your team up for success and avoid these pitfalls?

The first step is to make sure that your IT firm or IT department is monitoring downloads and new software installations on company equipment as part of routine security practices. If you aren’t sure if your current provider does this for you, ask them. From here, you can choose to block or allow certain sites and downloads at the firewall level.

Additionally, offer your employees a better way to work collaboratively with cloud sharing programs made specifically for businesses. These programs allow employees to store work files for themselves and share documents and information within the organization. Call Facet today and ask for more information on options for secure work on the cloud.

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