In the digital age, technology plays a critical role in the success of organizations. However, with the rise of technology has come the rise of Shadow IT, a phenomenon where employees use technology that is not approved or supported by the official IT department. This can include cloud storage solutions, messaging apps, or other software that is not sanctioned by the organization. While Shadow IT can increase efficiency and provide employees with the tools they need to do their jobs, it also poses significant risks to the organization, particularly when it comes to the external attack surface.
What is Shadow IT?
Shadow IT refers to the use of technology, systems, or applications within an organization that are not approved or supported by the official IT department. These tools are often used by employees who want to work more efficiently or who need specific tools to do their jobs that are not provided by the organization. While Shadow IT can increase efficiency, it also poses significant risks to the organization.
Examples of Shadow IT include cloud storage solutions like Dropbox, messaging apps like WhatsApp, or project management tools like Trello. These tools may not have the same security measures in place as those approved by the IT department, leaving the organization vulnerable to data breaches or other security threats.
The impact of Shadow IT on organizations can be significant. It can lead to data breaches, compliance violations, or other security incidents that can have far-reaching consequences. Shadow IT can also make it more difficult for the IT department to manage the organization’s technology and to ensure that the systems and data are secure.
Understanding External Attack Surface
External attack surface refers to the areas of an organization that are vulnerable to external threats, such as hackers or cyber criminals. This can include website portals, email systems, or any other system that is connected to the internet and accessible from outside the organization.
The importance of protecting external attack surface cannot be overstated. It is a door opened, unprotected, to the outside. Cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated, and the risks to organizations are increasing. A data breach can result in significant financial losses, damage to the organization’s reputation, and loss of customer trust.
Threats to external attack surface can come from a variety of sources, including hacking, phishing, and malware. These threats can result in data theft, system disruption, or other security incidents. It is essential for organizations to understand the external attack surface and to take measures to protect against these threats.
The Intersection of Shadow IT and External Attack Surface
Shadow IT and external attack surface are interconnected, as the use of Shadow IT can increase the external attack surface and make it more vulnerable to security threats. When employees use tools that are not approved by the IT department, they may not be aware of the security risks or the importance of protecting sensitive data. As a result, these tools may not have the same security measures in place as those approved by the IT department, leaving the organization vulnerable to data breaches or other security threats.
The use of Shadow IT can also make it more difficult for the IT department to manage the organization’s technology and to ensure that the systems and data are secure. This can result in fragmented security measures and can make it more difficult to detect and respond to security incidents.
Risks posed by Shadow IT to the external attack surface include data breaches, compliance violations, and other security incidents. These risks can have far-reaching consequences for the organization, including financial losses, damage to reputation, and loss of customer trust.
Best Practices for Protecting External Attack Surface
To protect against the threats posed by Shadow IT and to secure the external attack surface, organizations must take both technical and organizational measures. Technical measures include implementing firewalls, using antivirus software, and monitoring for suspicious activity. Organizations should also ensure that all systems and applications are regularly updated to address vulnerabilities and that all employees receive cybersecurity training.
Organizational measures to protect against Shadow IT and external attack surface include implementing clear policies and procedures for the use of technology within the organization. This can include guidelines for the use of cloud storage solutions, messaging apps, and other software. Organizations should also consider implementing a formal approval process for the use of technology, to ensure that all systems and applications are secure and meet the organization’s security requirements.
Best practices for protecting against Shadow IT and external attack surface include regularly reviewing and updating security measures, conducting regular security assessments, and implementing a comprehensive incident response plan. Organizations should also regularly educate employees on the importance of cybersecurity and provide them with the resources and tools they need to work securely.
Overcoming Challenges in Protecting External Attack Surface
While protecting external attack surface is crucial, organizations may face challenges in implementing the necessary measures. Common challenges include a lack of resources, limited technical expertise, and resistance from employees to change.
To overcome these challenges, organizations can work with cybersecurity experts, prioritize investments in technology and employee training, and establish a strong culture of cybersecurity within the organization. By working together and taking a proactive approach, organizations can effectively protect against the threats posed by Shadow IT and secure their external attack surface.
Finally, Shadow IT is an indicators that the organization’s tools governance may not be known by everyone. Or that the available tools inside the company do not suits the users needs. Analyzing Shadow IT root cause may allow to increase the organization ability to work more efficiently, to identify current user practice and to subscribe or develop with secure Low Code new business application.
Shadow IT and external attack surface pose significant risks to organizations. To effectively protect against these risks, organizations must take a comprehensive approach that includes both technical and organizational measures. By implementing best practices, overcoming challenges, and educating employees on the importance of cybersecurity, organizations can ensure that their systems and data are secure. The need for ongoing vigilance cannot be overstated, and organizations must remain vigilant in their efforts to protect against cyber threats.