Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


10:30 AM
Tal Klein
Tal Klein
Connect Directly
E-Mail vvv

Shadow IT: Not The Risk You Think

Enterprise cloud services such as Box, Office 365, Salesforce, and Google Apps can make a better case for being called sanctioned than many legacy, on-premises, IT-provisioned applications.

As we near the end of 2014, a multitude of indisputable data points to a simple fact that every security dollar dedicated to reining in Shadow IT through preventative policies or controls is a dollar wasted. In fact, the exact opposite is true: Shadow IT adoption by business units helps to increase IT savvy through a shared focus on innovation as a differentiator.

Verizon recently published its annual "State Of The Market: Enterprise Cloud report for 2014," based on data from independent analyst firm 451 Research, which found that what we know as "Shadow IT" has largely become extinct as a valid business risk. In the report Verizon concludes that the most successful CIOs have made building strong ties with the lines of business a core objective:

Standards have emerged, IT departments have now developed their competencies, providers have clarified their offerings, and both sides understand each other much better. Many buyers now have thorough mechanisms in place for specifying and managing procurement, governance, and performance.

Skyhigh Networks, meanwhile, in their "Q3 2014 Cloud Adoption And Risk Report," found that, "while the average organization employed 831 cloud services, the distribution of data movement across services revealed that 80% of data uploaded to the cloud goes to just 1%, or 11, cloud services."

This is very much in line with findings in Adallom's annual "Cloud Usage Risk Report," which noted that of the 11 cloud services detailed in Skyhigh Networks' report, only four primary services account for the majority of enterprise files in the cloud: Box, Office 365, Salesforce, and Google Apps. This means that of the 831 or so cloud services found in an average organization, only four represent the largest attack surface, none of which would be classified as "Shadow IT."

Rogue consumers vs. enterprise SaaS
There is a distinct difference between "Consumerized Shadow IT," defined as a single "rogue" user interacting with unsanctioned cloud applications, and "Enterprise SaaS," which are cloud applications now included as a prominent piece of IT portfolios across industries. In fact, as evinced in the Verizon report, the status quo has pivoted so profoundly that these Enterprise SaaS services have a better case for being called sanctioned than many legacy IT provisioned on-premises enterprise apps.

The "new" Shadow IT -- the one that represents real, measurable risk -- is the proliferation of third-party apps built on top of the dominant SaaS platforms -- The Salesforce AppExchange, Google Apps Marketplace, etc. Millions of applications are developed and released into these SaaS ecosystems on an on-going basis, and understanding which are installed and the potential risks they pose can be a daunting task.

The Adallom report also found that there have already been scenarios where malicious ecosystem applications have tricked users into handing over access to privileged data. Governance over third-party SaaS ecosystem application access becomes increasingly difficult as SaaS platforms intersect with each other. For example, there are already cross-platform third-party applications that integrate services like Dropbox with Salesforce, or Google Drive with Huddle -- meaning a compromised account in one cloud service could become an attack vector into another.

  Tal Klein is Vice President of Strategy at Lakeside Software. Previously, he was vice president of marketing and strategy at Adallom, a leading Cloud Access Security Broker. He was also senior director of products at Bromium where he led product marketing and strategy ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Apprentice
1/11/2015 | 12:12:58 AM
cloud reborn
The issue is with all cloud solutions for enterprise right now is that bone of then were designed with the enterprise in mind. Follow extents the startup on social media and watch it take the industry by storm. What if the cloud was so secure it couldn't be hacked or compromised for 25 billion years using the aggregate computing power in this world? Extenua - be one of the first to get involved. Follow our launch on social media. https://mobile.twitter.com/extenua https://www.facebook.com/extenua https://plus.google.com/+Extenua Or search for us on LinkedIn Extenua
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/25/2020
9 Tips to Prepare for the Future of Cloud & Network Security
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  9/28/2020
Malware Attacks Declined But Became More Evasive in Q2
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  9/24/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-30
IBM WebSphere Application Server 7.0, 8.0, 8.5, and 9.0 could allow a local user with specialized access to obtain sensitive information from a detailed technical error message. This information could be used in further attacks against the system. IBM X-Force ID: 185370.
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-30
Use of hard-coded cryptographic key vulnerability in August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge App, Connect Firmware allows an attacker to decrypt an intercepted payload containing the Wi-Fi network authentication credentials. This issue affects: August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge App version v10.11.0 and prior version...
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-30
An improper Input Validation vulnerability in the code handling file renaming and recovery in Bitdefender Engines allows an attacker to write an arbitrary file in a location hardcoded in a specially-crafted malicious file name. This issue affects: Bitdefender Engines versions prior to 7.85448.
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-30
SonicWall SSL-VPN products and SonicWall firewall SSL-VPN feature misconfiguration leads to possible DNS flaw known as domain name collision vulnerability. When the users publicly display their organization’s internal domain names in the SSL-VPN au...
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-29
In goxmldsig (XML Digital Signatures implemented in pure Go) before version 1.1.0, with a carefully crafted XML file, an attacker can completely bypass signature validation and pass off an altered file as a signed one. A patch is available, all users of goxmldsig should upgrade to at least revisio...