Shadow IT: video meetings could be putting your business at risk

Find out how shadow IT is putting you remote workers at risk, and what you can do to protect them.

July 10, 2020

47% of enterprise IT security managers surveyed about remote working during the pandemic complain that home workers using shadow IT solutions is a major problem. It’s not a great surprise – many organizations didn’t have time to implement fully fledged remote work strategies before coronavirus forced almost all employees to work from home.

So as workers scramble to talk, meet, and share information from home, many are turning to their consumer video meeting apps to fill the gap, like WhatsApp or FaceTime. This is a big risk for organizations: Gartner says that this year, a third of successful cyber attacks on enterprises will be on their shadow IT resources.

Why is using a consumer app so risky?

Because many popular consumer apps simply aren’t suitable for enterprise use:

  1. Reliability: Enterprise solutions are designed to be reliable, and promote business continuity, with a Service Level Agreement (SLA) or uptime guarantee. Consumer apps usually don’t have this – which introduces the risk of the solution being unavailable at critical times, or being withdrawn without notice.
  2. Security: Data security might not be a primary concern when chatting to friends over video, but for meeting or sharing information about company strategy, finances or customer details, it’s crucial. Enterprise apps usually meet the stringent security standards and industry-standard certifications your business obligations require.
  3. Management: If an app doesn’t provide centralized management, or single sign-on capabilities, you don’t have any control over who has access, or who’s added to groups. How can you ensure ex-employees are prevented from accessing sensitive company or client data, for example? This is a serious issue – data breaches are highly damaging, and fines can be ruinous.

So why do people use these apps?

It is easy to understand why employees turn to consumer collaboration apps. Most are only trying to do their work as quickly and as easily as possible, in difficult circumstances, which in turn helps their employer.

Some organizations don’t have a corporate video meeting solution available to all employees, or if they do, it’s a solution that is difficult to use. So employees will quickly turn to what they know – and that’s likely to be their preferred consumer app that they already have installed and are already familiar with.

How can you mitigate the risk?

The answer is a solution that your employees find simple and easy to use. It needs to be effortless to create, schedule and join meetings, on any platform or service provider, and must integrate seamlessly into the workplace tools they already use, like Microsoft Teams or Outlook.

And a solution that gives IT teams the central management tools they need: certified secure, with a guaranteed uptime SLA, and integrations for existing technology and core business processes like active directory and mass deployment.

By choosing a video tool that’s secure, reliable and intuitively simple for business users and IT, you’re making it easy for everyone to support your business, and reducing the risks associated with shadow IT.