Stop Cribbing About Shadow IT and Start Taking Charge Now


Of your peers have already read this article.

2:20 Minutes

The most insightful time you'll spend today!

If you want to create a more productive workforce, take cues from your employees. Your tools should not only meet the highest security standards for IT but let people work the way they want to.

Employees use tools at their disposal to get work done, but if these tools (often legacy) hamper collaboration or are inflexible, they’ll turn to less secure options for the sake of convenience. According to Gartner, a third of successful attacks experienced by enterprises will come from Shadow IT usage by 2020. 

And this problem is not unknown. Eighty-three percent of IT professionals reported that employees stored company data in unsanctioned cloud services, a challenge especially apparent with file sync and share tools. When people work around their legacy systems to use tools like Google Drive, it’s often because they find their current systems to be clunky or that they can’t collaborate with others as easily. They’re unable to do three key things in legacy file sync and share systems (like Microsoft SharePoint):

1. Unable to work on their phones. By now, people expect to be able to work on the go—and this means not just opening an attachment, but actually making edits to and comments on work. It gives them freedom to work when it’s convenient for them and to help teammates anytime. 

2. Unable to create workspaces independently and easily. This might sound counterintuitive, but if an employee needs to contact IT to have a new project folder made on a drive, the bar is too high. Employees need to be able to quickly, and independently, create documents that can be shared simply because of the changing nature of collaboration. Work happens ad-hoc, on the go (like we mentioned above), and with people inside and outside of your organization. If someone has to contact IT to create a new folder, they’re more likely to neglect the request or use a different tool altogether to get started. 

3. Unable to make the data work for them. Traditional file storage is just that, storage. Like an attic, we store things in these systems, but at some point stuff gets stale and it’s hard to tell what we should keep or pitch. People need their storage systems to not only house their data, but to help them categorize and find information quicker so that they can make this data work better for them.

You have two choices when it comes to making a decision on file sync and share systems:

Option 1: Continue to let your employees work on unsanctioned products, some of which may open your business up to unintended security issues (and, in some instances, scary terms of service).

Option 2: Buy the tools that your users want to use because these tools are making them more productive.

If you want to create a more productive workforce, take cues from your employees. Your tools should not only meet the highest security standards for IT, but let people work the way they want to (and be intelligent enough to guide them along the way).

Imagine if your technology could flag that a file contains confidential information before an employee accidentally shares it. Or surface files as they’re needed to help people work faster. Google Drive does this.

Remember, if the technology doesn’t suit your employees, they’re just going to work around it anyway. Instead of investing time and resources on routine maintenance, shift this energy toward helping your employees stay productive in ways that work for both you and them.

More Relevant Stories for Your Company


How to Evolve Security for the Cloud: McKinsey with Google Cloud

Not too long ago, McKinsey released a report titled “Making a secure transition to the public cloud,” the result of interviews with IT security experts at nearly 100 enterprises around the world. Leveraging the expertise of Google Cloud and McKinsey security experts, the research presents a strategic framework for IT


How to Retrace the Steps of a Potential Phishing Attack with Threat Analytics

The majority of cyber attacks begin with phishing emails and websites. Attackers use many tricks, including by leveraging enterprise brand assets, such as company names and logos, to develop phishing websites that appear authentic and lure internet users to enter valuable information such as user names and passwords. Experts say


How Google Meet Keeps Your Video Conferences Secure

All over the world, businesses, schools and users depend on G Suite to help them stay connected and get work done. Google designs, builds, and operates our products on a secure foundation, aimed at thwarting attacks and providing the protections needed to keep you safe. G Suite and Google Meet


Beaconing Malware: How CISOs Can Catch it With Threat Analytics in Just a Few Clicks

Are you checking your network for beacon activity? If you aren't you are risking your business' reputation and customer data. Beaconing is the practice of sending short and regular communications from an infected host to an attacker-controlled Command and Control server, compromising internal information. These threats often go undetected but with