Shadow IT can cause significant security challenges, as many in enterprise organizations are beginning to realize. When employees adopt cloud apps for work purposes without the IT department’s knowledge and approval (and when IT employees do the same, despite knowing the risks), they expose corporate data to risks such as:
- Compliance violations incurred by transmitting sensitive data to services that do not meet regulatory requirements
- Data leaks made possible by taking corporate data to cloud services outside of IT’s monitoring and control
- Data breaches that happen when hackers exploit the vulnerabilities of third-party cloud service providers
The seriousness of these risks may make shutting down public cloud use altogether seem like the best option. CipherCloud, however, disagrees. As we’ve said before, the cloud is here, and it’s here to stay. The benefits of cloud computing range from cost savings to dramatically increased scalability, flexibility, and business agility, and those are benefits that few organizations hoping to maintain a competitive edge can do without. Limiting enterprise cloud use to a private cloud built and housed behind the corporate perimeter reduces or eliminates many of those benefits. Instead, CipherCloud advocates safe cloud enablement as a response to shadow IT.
Cloud enablement is the end goal of CipherCloud’s approach to shadow IT, which we detail in our free eBook, Beyond Discovery. Shadow IT is, after all, a cry for help. Employees adopt unauthorized cloud services when corporate-approved solutions prove inadequate for their needs, usually due to a steep learning curve, challenging user interface, lack of needed features, or limited accessibility when off-premises or from personal devices. Consumer-facing cloud applications are typically more user-friendly, feature-rich, and universally accessible, so an employee who wants to stay productive and has little knowledge of the security and compliance risks may see adoption as a no-brainer.
Taking away the user-friendliness and accessibility of public cloud applications may solve some security challenges but also limits productivity and the ability to stay competitive. That’s not something many organizations want to do.
Cloud enablement, on the other hand, focuses on understanding the issues that shadow IT adoption brings to light so that organizations can find secure options for addressing those issues. Once IT has run a cloud detection and risk assessment solution like CipherCloud for Cloud Discovery, the organization can dig into the data and figure out what its employees need. Perhaps a large number of employees are using cloud-based file sync and share. That most likely means that the enterprise’s internal storage and sharing solution isn’t up to scratch. Or maybe workers are using cloud-based conferencing and collaboration apps, pointing to some inadequacy in the company’s authorized collaboration solution.
Identifying these issues is the first step towards enabling a better solution, one that employees will use and that IT and security teams can monitor, control, and secure through tools like the encryption, tokenization, and data loss prevention (DLP) solutions offered by CipherCloud.
Intrigued? Learn more about how CipherCloud can help you gain control of shadow IT and achieve optimal cloud enablement by downloading our Beyond Discovery eBook today.