Make End Users Accountable For Shadow IT Activities On Their Own Mobile Devices

Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) has contributed to increased occurrences of shadow IT, that is, the use of IT systems and services by employees that have not been approved by their organisations. Some workers are even creating their own apps and using them to work more efficiently. But shadow IT has the potential to become a security risk and one way to mitigate this is by making employees accountable for the mobile apps they bring into the organisation.

Hand shadow picture from Shutterstock

BYOD will continue to gain traction in organisations, especially in smaller businesses that may not have much capital to spend on buying computing devices for their workers. It’s a great way to allow employees to work on devices they are comfortable with but it also means companies have less control over what is brought onto the corporate network in those devices. This can cause IT security concerns.

Those who have the skillset to create apps may do so and bring it into the organisation without express approval. This is called citizen IT, which falls under the umbrella of shadow IT. It’s tempting to ban these kinds of activities but it’s to police them.

“Please will do what they want because they own the devices and they have their own ideas,” Gartner vice president and analytst John Girard said. “If you declare citizen IT illegal, people will do it anyway, but if you declare the process legal, you can license and supervise the programs employees are creating and using.”

He recommends companies to encourage employees to take responsibility for the apps they create or bring in; to stop fighting shadow IT and foster an environment that holds employees accountable for their own apps that are relevant to their jobs.

According to Girard:

“IT policies can’t stop users from using their own apps, but they can provide an avenue for the creative and energetic expression by employees. Businesses should pay attention to citizen IT and set rules and resources to encourage people to do a good job when creating apps.”

[Via Smarter With Gartner]

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