Confronting Shadow IT

You’ve helped your customers invest in all the cybersecurity measures you can think of—from password managers to keep login data safe to antivirus software that’s up to snuff. But there’s another threat your customers need to be mindful of, one that might be closer to home than they think: the dreaded shadow IT.

Is shadow IT as frightening as it sounds?

For customers who don’t know, it may sound like some sort of covert, underground hacker group à la Sandra Bullock’s 1995 classic The Net. Essentially, shadow IT encapsulates any infrastructure or applications deployed rogue, without approval or management by an IT department or IT service provider. This creates risk for data breaches that may have serious financial liabilities and other security implications.

This means as an IT service provider, you have both an obligation and an opportunity to educate your customers and help them detect and remediate shadow IT as early on as possible. It’s a common problem and many companies don’t realize it’s happening until it’s too late. So, what can be done?

Encourage customers to create official processes for your apps and programs.

Take the time as a trusted advisor to work with customers on creating detailed processes for their apps and programs. In doing so, you have the opportunity to not only share suggestions on how to optimize some of their processes, but create a business solutions roadmap for your customers.

Educate and train end users early on.

One of the easiest ways to help customers proactively fend off shadow IT is to incorporate education and training into onboarding, as well as whenever you help them implement new apps to their business. It’s one thing to have a handbook or a guide explaining how things should work and it’s another making sure end users are all on the same page.

Confront issues as they happen.

Even with precautions and preparation, issues may still arise. The best thing you can do for your customers is to keep the channels of communication open. Chances are, no one is actually trying to undermine the business—employees may just be trying to find a better way of doing things. It’s your job to make sure they understand why the processes are in place and know that they’re held accountable.

Shadow IT can be a real threat to a customer’s business, but can often be easily fixed with the proper foresight. One way to detect shadow IT is through an infrastructure assessment with HealthCheck for Azure. Through mapping out application dependencies within a customer’s network, HealthCheck for Azure can help you find shadow IT lurking in your customer’s environment.

Currently, Microsoft is fully funding HealthCheck for Azure licenses for US-based Partners that qualify for the Azure Everywhere program.

Learn more about the program and how to get your free licenses here!

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