The Danger of Employees Shadow-Integrating With Cloud Apps On Your Behalf

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Many employees are now shadow-integrating using unsanctioned cloud applications. Similar to Shadow IT (read more about Shadow IT here), employees shadow-integrating cloud apps is a common practice with serious cybersecurity consequences.

Software vendors are even encouraging your employees to side-step your policies. If you’ve recently updated your Zoom application, you may have noticed the most recent update features an app-store sidebar that enables business users to integrate with cloud apps—shown in the sidebar — with the simple click of a button. 

While a seemingly neat convenience, it’s caused a surge in employee use of unsanctioned cloud applications. And with that surge comes the need for additional security measures.

What should companies do about it? We will answer your questions about unsanctioned cloud applications—and how to keep your business safe. 

Why Are Unsanctioned Cloud Apps a Problem?

It’s not that the apps themselves are necessarily a problem—instead, the lack of vetting and security guardrails present major cybersecurity issues.

Using only sanctioned apps or vendors within an organization ensures that the company’s cybersecurity team has vetted the app or vendor and checked security integration for misconfiguration risks. Essentially, it means that your cybersecurity team has deemed the app or vendor safe to use or do business with. 

Unsanctioned apps are ones that have not been vetted — while some may be fine, vetting is extremely important to reduce unnecessary cybersecurity risk to your organization.

What To Do Before Adopting Cloud Applications

With internal security review and employee training, the major security risk of unsanctioned cloud applications can be minimized. 

However, the issue is that it’s very hard for cybersecurity teams to know if and when cloud applications are being downloaded. The result? A security team that is operating in the blind — not knowing which apps are being adopted and used and whether they may have security vulnerabilities.  There is also the risk that your organization may not know where your proprietary or confidential information is being stored.

3 Ways to Minimize Cloud Application Risks

  1. Establish an Internal Review Process — set security guardrails for new apps. Essentially, ensure that employees submit requests to download apps so that they can be properly vetted before they are downloaded.
  2. Perform Regular Employee Training — include education on cloud application download risk in regular employee cybersecurity training.
  3. Create a Culture of Self-Reporting — having an internal review process is not always enough to ensure proper vetting organization-wide. It requires that employees understand the risks and comply with organization rules regarding cloud application downloads without an organizational culture of self-reporting.

Cybersecurity for Cloud Applications

As the world moves toward more advanced integration almost daily, cloud applications open up a world of possibilities as organizations look to improve the efficiency and productivity of their processes. However, with any innovation comes new security risks. 

While increasing security around cloud application adoption can sound like an inconvenience to your organization, the short-term time spent vetting these applications properly is time, money, and risk saved in the long run. 

If your organization wants to improve its internal security processes around cloud application adoption, PK Tech can help. Our number one goal is always proactive security, with a secondary goal of helping your organization operate as efficiently as possible.

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