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What Is Shadow IT and How to Take Control of It with Microsoft 365?

It is important for companies to evaluate the solutions and “shadow IT” they are using so they can take the right steps to make sure security is in place when needed.

What Is Shadow IT?

Did you know that 80% of workers include unapproved apps in their workflows? This behavior is an example of “shadow IT,” which is the usage of software, applications, devices, or other hardware without the IT department of the company’s approval or support.

Employee adoption of new tools might cause the IT department to lose track of the technologies being used within the company and become unable to manage them all. Due to the expenditure on shadow IT from other people and teams, the CIO and IT department only typically oversee about 60% of IT spending. An organization uses 1,181 different cloud services on average.

Every worker uses an average of 17 cloud apps at work. But: Most people in a company tend to be too optimistic about this number. And it’s hard to stop shadow IT when no one knows how many applications are being used, and guessing isn’t good enough! We’ll show you how to use Microsoft Cloud App Security to make things clear, give you control over your data, and protect you from threats.

By moving to the cloud, you can make your staff more productive and cut your IT costs. So far, so good. But doing so also brings new challenges to your business, and IT security is one area where you need to keep a close eye. So, if your company hasn’t started its new life in the cloud yet, keep in mind that it only takes a few clicks to use cloud applications. The next thing you know, you’re “sharing things on the fly with external partners,” and voila! Now, services like Dropbox, WeTransfer, and others are part of your IT ecosystem. Employees like cloud applications because they are easy to use and are a good way to avoid the sometimes time-consuming internal application processes. This is great, but it’s also a big reason why shadow IT has grown so much.

Microsoft did a study that shows why company data is at risk

  • 80% of employees use cloud apps that aren’t theirs
  • 91% of companies let their employees use their accounts to get to the cloud storage of the company
  • 70% of companies let cloud administrators work from outside the company on networks that aren’t secure
  • On average, companies share 13% of their files with people outside the company, and 25% of this information is available to the public
  • Most of the time, people don’t know what the risks and possible punishments are. IT management has often lost track of the data and with it the ability to control it. In these situations, blocking cloud applications or cloud web addresses is usually a complicated task that doesn’t work very well. Almost every day, new apps come out on the market. This means that restrictions can only put out the flames, but not stop the fires. For companies to get the most out of cloud applications, they need to find the right balance between letting people access data and keeping important data safe

This is when the Microsoft Cloud App Security starts to work. The vendor-neutral SaaS partner comes with tools to find shadow IT, evaluate possible risks, enforce policies, analyze activities, and stop threats. So, you can keep track of important business data.

The Most Important things that Microsoft Cloud App Security can do

  • Cloud Discovery: All cloud applications in your company’s network are found on all devices. This gives you shadow IT reports and control and risk assessments
  • Data Protection: Keep an eye on and manage the data you store in the cloud. A lot of attention is paid to API-based integration applications for which you can set up granular controls and policies for the shared use of data and data loss protection (DLP). You can either use policies that are already made or make your own and change them
  • Protection from threats: Look for strange uses and security threats. By using behavioral analytics and advanced analysis tools, you can reduce risks and set up rules to have as much control as possible over the flow of data between your network and the cloud

Microsoft Cloud App Security does not store the contents of files in the application database when they are being scanned. Instead, Microsoft Cloud App Security only stores metadata for the file datasets and all identified breaches in its database.

Detailed Analysis to make sure the right steps are taken

The Microsoft Cloud App Catalog is used for analysis and evaluation. It stores and describes more than 15,000 cloud applications and also sorts and rates them based on more than 60 criteria. The dashboard shows the results of the analysis clearly, with findings broken down to the application level. The dashboard also shows the number of users, the amount of data traffic, the amount of data being uploaded, and a lot of other metrics. You can look at a lot of information about each of the listed cloud applications to get a better idea of how they work. Microsoft Cloud App Security also has links to the privacy policies of each cloud app provider. With this clear overview of the data, security holes can be fixed very quickly, so your employees can enjoy all the benefits of your cloud applications.

In the future, it will be important for companies to evaluate the solutions and “shadow IT” they are using so they can take the right steps to make sure security is in place when needed. Microsoft Cloud App Security makes it possible by giving you a lot of ways to get help.

Written By

Content creator and Senior Marketing Executive at Veelead Solutions. Loves to read and write on categories like office productivity, employee and resource management, customer management and utilization of business tools. Veelead is a Microsoft service partner providing Power BI, Power Apps and Power Automate consulting services. Microsoft Certified partner having 10 plus years of experience in Microsoft Technologies.

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