For Total Cloud Data Protection, Companies Must Gain Control of Shadow IT

Think fast! How much of a problem is shadow IT at your organization?

If you answered “not much” or “not at all,” then we have an unpleasant surprise for you. According to a recent report by 451 Research an estimated that 79% of employees use shadow IT applications. So unless you’ve taken steps to identify and address shadow IT in use at your organization, shadow IT is most likely a problem. And where shadow IT is a little bit of a problem, it can easily and rapidly become a very big problem. Cloud data protection and regulatory compliance in the cloud demand visibility and control, two things that shadow IT takes away.

If you’ve been following CipherCloud or reading our blog, then you know that we believe that cloud data protection is best ensured by gaining visibility and control over your enterprise’s cloud use so that you can apply cloud data encryption whenever and wherever it’s necessary. In our free ebook, Beyond Discovery: Cloud Data Protection, we discuss the serious risks incurred by storing or sharing unprotected data in the cloud. Those risks include:

  • Inadvertent data leakage

  • Data exfiltration

  • Unauthorized access by insider threats

  • Unwanted data disclosures to government or law enforcement agencies

  • Regulatory compliance violations

  • Inadvertent violations of data residency laws

And these risks aren’t necessarily dependent on the amount of unprotected data employees have put in the cloud. Simply stated, one piece of sensitive data, uploaded to the wrong place or shared through the wrong channel at the wrong time, can lead to big problems.

So if employees at your organization are running around willy-nilly, putting confidential work documents in personal file sync and share accounts, entering sensitive business data into cloud-based invoicing or project tracking web apps, or conducting professional meetings over unsanctioned collaboration services, you may be closer to a data breach than you think.

It’s for this reason that enterprises absolutely must bring shadow IT under control if they intend to achieve cloud data protection and data security.

The first step, of course, is discovery of cloud application usage within the organization – basically, an inventory of what your employees are using to get their jobs done. You can’t control what you don’t know about, after all. CipherCloud’s CipherCloud for Cloud Discovery solution helps ease that process, providing not only visibility into the cloud applications (IT-sanctioned or not) in use in your organization, but also risk scores for the thousands of cloud applications in our database. This information is critical to understanding what shadow IT means for your organization, such as which lines of business are being underserved and what IT needs to address.

But discovery is only the first step, and simply shutting down cloud application usage is not the second—not, at least, if you want employees to remain satisfied, productive, and operating at their peak potential. Instead, for best results, you’ll need to come up with a solution for secure cloud enablement. The cloud is here, it’s here to stay, and companies that recognize the value cloud computing can bring and empower employees to leverage that value with a comprehensive cloud data security strategy will benefit.

How can you achieve total cloud data security while also providing optimal cloud enablement? To learn more, download our free ebook, Beyond Discovery: Cloud Data Protection, today.

So how much of a problem is shadow IT at your organization? Tell us what you think now in the comments.

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