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What is Shadow IT Discovery?

Before discussing Shadow IT discovery, lets first define Shadow IT itself. “Shadow IT is the use of IT-related hardware or software by a department or individual without the knowledge of the IT or security group within the organization. It can encompass cloud services, software, and hardware. The main area of concern today is the rapid adoption of cloud-based services,” explained network giant Cisco. Shadow IT discovery is simply finding these unapproved applications and services.

So Why Discover Shadow IT?

As with anything, IT cannot manage what it does not know it has. Nowhere is this more true than with SaaS. IT needs to find SaaS apps, determine which are Shadow IT, and what to do about it.

Shadow IT sounds cool on the surface. Tech-savvy end users and departments discover hot cloud apps they love and put to work. However, there are security, cost and even productivity downsides. Cloud apps that are that good should be vetted, and if proven, approved and even made standard. Ones that do not meet this threshold have no place in the enterprise. Finding the right answer means discovering and analyzing these hidden apps.

Shadow IT is Everywhere

Shadow IT is a very big deal. Did you know a Cisco survey of CIOs shows they had 15 times more cloud applications than expected? According to Gartner, Shadow IT represents 30 to 40 percent of IT spending in large enterprises.

Shadow IT Kills Security

Shadow IT causes all kinds of problems. It is a huge area of attack by hackers, and a vector for malware. Meanwhile, storage, file sharing and collaboration apps are all key sources of data leakage.

Shadow IT is clearly ripe for attack, as Gartner researchers predict that this year, 2020, one-third of all successful attacks on enterprises will be against Shadow IT resources.


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