March 22, 2016

    Managing the Risks of "Shadow Cloud" in your IT Department


    Shadow cloud, also commonly referred to as "cloud sprawl," is a very serious risk faced in the world of business today - particularly in terms of places like law firms, healthcare facilities, banks, marketing firms, government agencies and other large businesses managing huge amounts of employees at any given moment. Shadow cloud is the idea that members of a business are probably using their own cloud providers at some point during the day, particularly in a place where "BYOD" or "bring your own device" is supported. Each of these unauthorized and unregulated cloud situations represents a potential security vulnerability just waiting to be exploited, which is why you have to address this issue at all costs.

    Why Shadow Cloud is Putting Your Business at Risk

    Risks of Shadow Cloud Situations

    One of the major risks of the shadow cloud involves the ways that it potentially (and likely) compromises your business' data. Your own cloud provider was likely selected because it not only offers protection, but also compliance for governing bodies like HIPAA that your business must adhere to. The same likely cannot be said of the third party solution that your employees are using without you knowing.

    Perhaps the biggest risk of the shadow cloud is that each instance of unauthorized cloud usage represents an increase in the odds that your organization will be hit by a data breach. As the average cost of a data breach is now $3.8 million dollars according to Reuters, this is one risk you do not want to take.

    Another very real shadow cloud risk has to do with the ways in which it can potentially damage your brand. If you're hit with a data breach, your customers will be less likely to trust you with their valuable information in the future. This may also make them more likely to stop trusting you with their business, fleeing into the arms of better-protected competitors.

    Dealing with the Shadow Cloud

    One of the first steps you need to take to effectively manage the shadow cloud is to identify the employees using their own cloud services at work and simply ask them why. What is it about their solution that they like over the one you're providing for them? Is it faster? Is it easier to use? Is it more "convenient"? Getting the answers to these questions will help you either improve your own solution or find a better one that will replace the unauthorized choice they've been using.

    Secondly, you'll need to put a strict set of guidelines in place regarding technology in the workplace - particularly as it deals with cloud usage. All employees should have to sign this document and there should be severe penalties in place for those who either do not switch over to your authorized cloud solution fast enough, or who refuse to for whatever reason.


    Martin Horan

    Martin, Sharetru's Founder, brings deep expertise in secure file transfer and IT, driving market niche success through quality IT services.

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