Is Shadow IT Causing Your Cloud Costs to Get Out of Hand? (How to Fix It!)

Is Shadow IT Causing Your Cloud Costs to Get Out of Hand? (How to Fix It!)

Did you know that it’s estimated that unknown app usage in companies is about 10x that of known applications? Shadow IT, which is the use of unauthorised applications by employees for their work, has become a major problem.

The fact that employees are now largely working from home part or full-time has fueled the increase of shadow IT because workers feel more comfortable using the apps they like. They often don’t see the harm in it and don’t realise that it can mean major business IT security and productivity problems for their company.

80% of surveyed employees admit to using apps that haven’t been approved by their company. 

What’s the problem if employees are finding online tools to do their work that haven’t been approved? There are several problems with this scenario, even if it’s done in the spirit of improving individual productivity.

Some of the problems with allowing unauthorised app use are:

  • Company data can be compromised in an app that isn’t up to your security standards.
  • You can suffer from a data breach and compliance violation.
  • Data can be lost when the employee leaves and the company doesn’t know where certain files were kept.
  • Cloud costs can get out of control.
  • The company processes can end up less efficient due to redundant apps being used by different employees.
  • There can be a loss of the ability to collaborate and automate processes.

Shadow IT use can creep up one app at a time. Then you multiply that by your number of employees, and you can see how things can quickly get out of hand.

We’ve got some steps that you can take to get a handle on Shadow IT and keep it from becoming a major problem for your business in the future.

Steps for Fixing Shadow IT Use

Root Out Unauthorised App Usage

Your first step is to find out how many applications out there are being used for business data that you may not know about.

The best way to do this is by asking employees to list all the applications or online tools they use for their work, including those used daily, weekly, monthly, etc. 

If you approach this in a punitive way, then employees may not tell you all the apps they’re using for fear of getting in trouble. Thus, it’s best to approach it from an optimisation point of view and let employees know you need their help to streamline so everyone is using the same tools and all data can be backed up in the case of ransomware or other threats.

Ask Employees to Grade All Apps They are Using (Approved & Shadow IT)

At the same time that you’re uncovering the use of shadow IT apps, you can also optmise your cloud environment. Maybe employees have chosen better tools on their own than the ones you currently use.

Maybe a shadow cloud app someone began using actually costs less and is easier to use than one you thought everyone liked.

Use this opportunity to survey employees about the apps they are using and ask them to grade them. For example, you could ask:

  • What are your favorite work apps and why?
  • What are your least helpful work apps and why?
  • Which app do you wish we used companywide and why?

Ask employees to include both official work apps and any other non-official cloud apps they may be using and let them know they won’t get in trouble.

Review Feedback and Reevaluate Your Cloud Environment

The review of the feedback and evaluation of your cloud environment for improvements is a great conversation to include your IT provider in. GKM2’s cloud experts can provide an impartial and expert 3rd party opinion to help you evaluate the apps you’ve received feedback on and how they fit into your company technology needs and goals.

Implement Your Optimised Cloud Environment & a Cloud Use Policy

Now, you’ll want to implement your optimised cloud environment including the tools you ultimately decided upon during your review of feedback and reevaluation of your cloud environment.

Along with this implementation, be sure to introduce a cloud use policy that outlines expectations as to apps that employees should use. You’ll want to discourage “rogue” use of cloud apps, but also give employees a path to suggest cloud apps for consideration. This gives them a voice and helps you continue to optimise your cloud environment. 

Regularly Survey Employees on Cloud App Use 

Once you’ve gone through this process, you can’t assume that the shadow IT problem is solved forever. Shadow cloud apps are like weeds that grow in a garden. If a garden isn’t properly tended those weeds can easily come back.

Regularly survey employees on cloud app use so you can catch any shadow IT that might crop up and address it right away before it gets out of hand.

Get Expert Help Optimising Your Cloud Infrastructure

GKM2 can help your Sydney area business through the appropriate steps for both rooting out shadow IT and optmising your cloud infrastructure for productivity.

Contact us today to learn more. Call +61 2 9161 7171 or reach out online.