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Shadow IT: Every Company's 3 Hidden Security Risks
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BrianN060
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BrianN060,
User Rank: Ninja
8/7/2018 | 6:45:14 PM
Shadow IT by any other name
Fine article from a veteran cybersecurity professional about an aspect that doesn't get enough attention.  Call it shadow IT, or something else, it comes down to data governance. 

Where Adam has "What you don't know can hurt you.", I'd add: You can't protect what you don't know you have.  You can't protect data unless you know you have it, and know where it's stored - EVERYWHERE it's stored: every copy, every version, every device, every service, every B2B partner, even the data which can be reconstituted from disparate stores and sources, even the bio-memory of your knowledge workers, past and present.  Too many places?  Next time, limit the places to where it's needed. 

For vast amounts of data, it's too late to regain control (control which was an illusion to begin with); but new data is generated all the time - you do have a chance to a better job of data governance with that.  However, if you don't have an understanding of the fundamental nature of data and information, you're bound to repeat the old mistakes even if you find new ways (or new ways find you), to do that.  Forget the idea of just protecting your "sensitive" data; in time, someone will find a way to make use of any data you leave unprotected to get at the crown jewels.

You have to start somewhere, start with this: don't put any data in front of anyone or on anything that doesn't need that specific data to do a specific job, and only while they are doing that specific task (not whenever they feel like it).  I mean a specific person, not a job title.   Make sure your authentication and authorization always resolves to an entity - not a type. 
dan91266
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dan91266,
User Rank: Strategist
9/17/2018 | 7:32:17 PM
Shadow IT Senior Management has to step up
Shadow IT happens when policies and procedures prevent employees from doing their work. The case of the insecure chat app in the article is a perfect example.  Unsanctioned FTP clients and back door local user names and passwords are also symptoms of this.  

This happens when senior management refuses to budget for the tools needed to secure Identity and Access  Management in a way that lets employees work efficiently or when they don't buy into those intitiatives. Finally indadaquate IT and Security staff, or undertrained staff also feeds this evil weed. 

If you make it hard or impossible for employees to work efficiently, or fail to factor your kludgy (read often "budget friendly") infrastructure into performance goals, people will find a way to work efficiently.  And why wouldn't they? If I have to get spreadsheets or reports distributed to my supply chain vendors, and that is a poor, manual process that takes a lot of time, you bet I will find a quicker way.  Nobody EVER got a raise for following policy that requires a slow, inefficient process and no review ever says, this employee did less, but they did it securely so give them a bigger raise than the ones who cheated but were more productive.

If you want your people to adher to secure processes, make those processes MORE efficient than a hacked up back door.  

Start incentivizing good behavior  instead of bad, and you will be amazed how secure things become. 

It's just that simple. 

 


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