Because regulations like HIPAA and Sarbanes Oxley make data breaches expensive mistakes for businesses, it’s incumbent upon IT teams to ensure their data is safe from unauthorized eyes. That’s why Shadow IT, while not as evil as it sounds, is still a major concern for modern businesses, especially those who deal in sensitive data.
What’s Shadow IT?
IT teams work every day to ensure the integrity of their data. They prevent malicious hacks and employ disaster recovery measures for every device and piece of software they manage.
But what about the ones they don’t? How do they oversee and protect devices and software used outside of their offices?
This is the concern that has been introduced by remote employees and bring your own device (BYOD) policies. While IT teams can implement every security measure under the sun on the devices and software owned by their company, they cannot always guarantee the security of devices owned by their employees.
Shadow IT has been a concern since floppy drives and discs hit the scene in the 1970’s. Once software began shipping on these portable discs, and users could store and transport data on them, IT teams lost a fair amount of control over the security of their data. Workers could now access software from home and transport sensitive data around in the palm of their hands. Today, employees have entire devices filled with company data that they can bring with them anywhere and everywhere they go, and SaaS makes it possible for them to access the software and data of their company from remote locations all over the world.
What was an incredible productivity booster has become yet another thing that IT teams must manage and secure.
Securing Portable Devices and Software
There are two main concerns when it comes to securing employee devices and infrastructure that is not under the umbrella of an internal IT department:
- Password protection to keep unauthorized people out of software used by the company.
- Disaster recovery in case the employee’s device is stolen, lost or destroyed, thus losing all the data stored on the device.
Cloud-based applications address both of these concerns, as data is stored on internal or 3rd-party hosted servers and these applications can come with password protection, but it doesn’t always alleviate all the concern and the strain on IT staff. Employees need to have accounts created for and access to every single piece of software they use on their device, which is why desktop as a service (DaaS) provides the best level of security.
Virtual desktops provide a secure, cloud-based desktop that can be accessed by employees from any device, anywhere. With private cloud application hosting, data is kept on a secure server that is protected with backup and disaster recovery measures. Access to these desktops, which are loaded with cloud-based versions of all a company’s vital software, is also password protected and entirely secure. Simple account provisioning makes it easy for IT departments to delegate and remove access to any software in the virtual desktop to any employee at any time. Even if an employee's device is lost or stolen, no data is lost, and it’s near impossible (short of knowing an employee’s password) to access the virtual desktop.
New technology was the cause of Shadow IT, and new technology like cloud application hosting and DaaS is the solution.