No matter what the consequences, people are going to use the technology that is easiest, most trusted, and most familiar to them.
So it should come as no surprise that even Hillary Clinton relied on her personal email account while performing the duties of Secretary of State. Of course she’s high profile, but her own boss has made no secret of giving presidential preference to a BlackBerry.
What can enterprises learn from 'Clintongate'? The first lesson is that unapproved use of technology within organizations is known as “shadow IT,” and it’s here to stay.
Employees become familiar with, even devoted to, products and platforms, and you’ll get their Dropbox when you pry it from their cold, dead hands. Because they’re knowledgeable technology users, circumventing security protocols to use consumer products in enterprise environments is rarely a problem. Convenience (or in Clinton’s case, trust), means that the familiar often trumps the secure.
Records retention, legal compliance and business security can all suffer when employees rely on shadow IT. Even when employees attempt encryption, et cetera, the stakes are high--particularly in the public sector. Unfortunately, email is far from the only offender.
Government enterprises are vulnerable to everything from LinkedIn to Twitter, apps that (may) have legitimate social media marketing and recruitment uses, but that also open the door to attackers. Blocking isn’t the answer: any employee worth their salary knows how to open a Dropbox account using their Gmail address. (A survey by Skyhigh Networks revealed that while IT managers believe they’re blocking 80 percent of Dropbox use, the actual rate is 16 percent.)
Although consumer applications are attempting to increase security, CIOs/CSOs should still seek to bring shadow IT apps into the open and mitigate risks with solutions that are agile and flexible; meeting the needs of the business and its employees.
Here are three ways to mitigate Shadow IT:
Can someone please send an email about all that to Mrs. Clinton?
About the Author: Asaf Cidon is the Co-Founder & CEO of Sookasa, a secure platform for sharing data in the cloud.
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