Small business advice: What you need to know about shadow IT

Small business advice: What you need to know about shadow IT

As small business owners move more data to the cloud, many are beginning to realize that their employees represent one of their most serious security risks.

More than 60 percent of small business employees are accessing company-related data through their personal devices, such as smartphones and tablets. And that percentage is expected to increase with the likely proliferation of wearables such as the Apple Watch. In fact, a recent Cisco forecast predicts that there will be nearly 600 million wearable devices in use by 2019.

This trend reinforces the fact that what we commonly call shadow IT — software, services, and devices that are used by employees without their IT department’s knowledge — poses a real challenge. The good news is that many employers are beginning to recognize this threat. In fact, 77 percent of respondents to a recent survey tagged employees and users as their greatest vulnerability.

To protect your small business, you need to strike the right balance between giving employees the tools they need while also maintaining your company’s data security.

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