The most important weapon in your fight against Shadow IT

Companies are struggling under the epidemic of Shadow IT for one reason: Employees want access to software and systems their companies don’t offer.

The good news? Your Shadow IT problem was caused by good intentions. The bad news? Shadow IT is still a problem, posing significant risks to your organization and its data.

While it may be tempting to scrap every unauthorized download in the process of cleaning up your technology, experts say the solution is not to do away with all the SaaS platforms and cloud-based systems your employees want.

You just have to eliminate the ones they no longer use.

That’s where the SaaSTrax audit feature comes in. It’s a tool that allows owners, IT departments or anyone else in a company to survey its employees and find out what tools they are actively using, and what tools they aren’t. It allows you to mitigate the risk that comes with Shadow IT, without turning off services that are making your employees more efficient, more productive and overall, more engaged.

Many companies ask us why you need to engage employees in the process of weeding out Shadow IT. After all, if company executives or IT leaders are supposed to be in charge of all technology within a business, shouldn’t they have the final say in what stays and what goes?

It’s a common reaction to the risks posed by Shadow IT. Take this statistic, for example: Just 7% of lost organizational data is actively hacked, while 81% of it is stolen or even inadvertently disclosed. When your employees bring SaaS platforms and cloud services into a business without the approval or knowledge of the IT department, they may be handing over critical company data or worse, leaving the door wide open for cyber thieves to walk right in.

Still, the answer isn’t to wipe the slate clean of every piece of software that comes in under the radar. In fact, experts advise against a slash-and-burn approach and instead favor one that engages your employees in the process. After all, they downloaded these platforms to make them more effective at their jobs — a sign of engagement at a time when employees are largely and worryingly unengaged. According to Gallup, 66% of American workers are either not engaged or actively disengaged at work. That doesn’t just affect employee happiness; it matters for overall business profitability: Companies with engaged employees see earnings-per-share growth that is more than 4 times that of the competition.

So, as research firm Gartner advises: “Companies should find a way to track Shadow IT and create a culture of acceptance and protection versus detection and punishment.”

That makes the audit a vital part of the process, and there are two ways to go about it: You can use a service like SaaSTrax, which automates and streamlines the audit, or you can tackle it on your own, embarking on a process of manual outreach, data collection and cross-referential analysis — like one of our customers did before signing on with SaaSTrax.

In the end, the company, a large-scale organization called Lodame, discovered an unused subscription to GoToMeeting that was costing the business money. But it required a significant outlay of resources to get there. The company’s IT department spent hours tapping into various departments and employees to find the problem, and it begs the question: Was a complex software audit the best use of valuable IT resources, particularly when there’s a system on the market that can do the same thing faster?

There’s no doubt that Shadow IT poses risks to businesses. But there is a way to manage that risk while making your employees part of the process. Our goal is to make getting there as simple as possible.


Want to learn more about what SaaSTrax can do for you and your organization? Click here to sign up for a free trial.