Many of us will be familiar with the TV ad that tells parents not to leave kids to their own devices, and the same goes for your team. Leave them to their own devices and they will use their own devices…
Utilising privately owned PCs, laptops, phones, printers, scanners, cameras, hard drives, Amazon Echos, etc., etc., rather than company owned devices is a familiar problem. Why a problem? Because these devices will not be set up with the necessary security to keep your business safe.
As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, Shadow IT (IT not officially authorised by the business) is not the domain of the unscrupulous or lazy employee – often it’s the more enthusiastic team members that become over-zealous with their devices. They want to get the job done as efficiently as possible, and if this means using their own personal equipment, then so be it! Unfortunately, what they deem as efficient i.e. bypassing the purchasing and IT departments, poses a very real risk to company security and ultimately could seriously damage long term business efficiency.
How do you prevent your teams from using their own devices?
Communication is key.
Listen to your teams when they ask for new or different IT provision. By providing this new kit your teams may be far better able to do their jobs. However, you may not have budget available for everything they need but you need to communicate this effectively. If budget is not available now, will it be available in 6 months? And is there a work-around that can be used instead? Ensure your teams have clear communication channels to tell you what they need and for you to discuss with them what is possible and what is not.
Training is also essential. If your team members understand the risks associated with using their personal devices for company business, they are far less likely to use them. Work the topic of Shadow IT into your regular staff meetings. You may also advise your teams to sign up for the Net Primates newsletter where we regularly provide information on IT Security, the risks of poor security and how to mitigate against breaches.
Keeping these communication channels open is even more imperative now that many of us are working remotely. Imagine how tempting it is to quickly plug in a home printer to run off a few document copies. With clear and memorable guidelines to follow your teams are far less likely to go rogue, keeping their private devices private, and your business secure.