Cybersecurity Threat of Shadow IT

How Risky is Cybersecurity Threat to the People

Shadow IT refers to the use of IT systems, software, devices, etc. by employees without the permission of the IT department. This trend has grown significantly in recent years with the advent of cloud-based applications. Employees believe that this helps them to be more productive in their work. They also use personal devices, such as smartphones to access services which are not permitted by their employers.

All these can lead to serious cybersecurity threat to any organization that is not properly secured.

According to the studies conducted in the UK, thousands of shadow IoT devices connect to their networks daily. Most of the firms in the UK or USA do not have appropriate security measures. Thus, allowing the cybercrime organizations to enter into the network of enterprises through shadow IT resources. Unprotected personal devices are soft targets for hackers and other infiltrators to access networks of organizations.

Cybersecurity Threat of Shadow IT

Benefits of Shadow IT to Employees

  • Employees feel they are more productive and can get better solutions quickly.
  • They save time since they do not have to wait indefinitely for the IT department’s approval.

Risks of shadow IT to Enterprises

  • Increased chances of attacks by cybercrime organizations on the enterprise network. Gaps in security can be targeted to inject malware.
  • Sharing and storing information on applications like Google Docs can lead to theft of sensitive data by hackers.
  • Ransomware may be downloaded by employees unintentionally on their personal devices while connected to enterprise networks.
  • Excess spending by departments if they are buying the same solutions multiple times.

Some Common Methods Used by Cyber Criminals for Accessing Your Network

  • One recent method used to infiltrate data is DNS (Domain Name Server) funnelling, which can bypass most of the firewalls. It can be used to inject malicious software into a network.
  • DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) is another series of attacks made to devices that are vulnerable and without adequate protection. The attacks can easily disrupt the functioning of DNS.
  • Another method is to attack an enterprise system by using Botnets. The infiltrators use them to steal the access credentials required to enter an enterprise system. Reports show that in 2019 there were thousands of security breaches using Botnets.
  • Personal devices having no protection and connected to the networks of organizations are targeted to launch the ransomware. Once the ransomware is launched, it can completely wipe out an enterprise’s data.

Steps That Can Be Taken to Secure Networks from Cyber Security Threat

  1. Provide better alternatives to employees: IT firms should provide employees secured, easy access to information. This will prevent them from using outside products that are not secured.
  2. Improved security for personal devices: If the staff is using personal devices like smartphones for their work, employers can provide them with better security measures to lessen the risk.
  3. Focus on enhanced DNS security: Firewalls and security features should try to make DNS more secure since it is very vulnerable to malicious attacks.
  4. Make guidelines for staff on app usage: All the software that is not permitted by the IT department does not pose a security risk. Form guidelines about which apps are safe for employees to install and use. Inform each staff member about the apps and services which are potentially high-risk. It would be advisable to block the usage of such services through your network.

Shadow IT, the latest Cybersecurity threat is here to stay unless you are going to take action against it. So, take preventive steps and forming strict guidelines for your employees will enable you to make your network more secure and lessen the risk of attacks by cybercriminals.

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