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    How can you protect — and manage — what you can’t see?

    It’s one of the most challenging tasks IT and security professionals tackle every day. And it’s especially true when it comes to shadow IT.

    Gartner defines shadow IT as “IT devices, software and services  outside the ownership or control of IT organizations.” 

    Shadow IT is costly to organizations. For large enterprises, Gartner reports that 30% to 40% of IT spending goes to shadow IT. And because of the increase in remote work over the last several years, the scale of shadow IT has skyrocketed. In fact, shadow IT use has increased by 59%, according to Core Research

    The consequences of shadow IT

    Employees aren’t waiting around for permission to add another virtual server, SaaS application, or other need. For them, it just requires a credit card to create an account. 

    But IT and security professionals don’t have visibility into those accounts. Likely, they don’t even know those accounts exist.   

    The lack of visibility and knowledge only increases the risks, like:  

    • Security gaps
    • App sprawl 
    • Uncontrolled data flow leading to compliance issues
    • Difficulty maintaining accurate CMDB data and managing how systems work together 
    • Ineffective collaboration between teams using different tools

    Forty-six percent of IT leaders reported that the purchase of non-sanctioned software “makes it impossible” to protect all of their organization’s data, systems, applications all the time, according to “Perception Gaps in Cyber Resilience: Where Are Your Blind Spots”, a survey conducted by Forbes and IBM. 

    As the risks grow, so do the chances for cybersecurity breaches. In fact, the Forbes and IBM survey found one in five organizations have experienced a cyber event that was caused by a non-sanctioned IT resource.

    A modern, holistic way to control shadow IT

    Shadow IT impacts how threat assessments are conducted by some organizations.

    The Forbes and IBM survey reported that six out of 10 organizations don’t include known, critical, shadow IT in their threat assessments — although they believe they should.  

    So how can IT and security professionals get true visibility (even shadow IT)? How can they understand the attack surface of their entire IT environment? 

    The first way is through cyber asset attack surface management (CAASM)

    Inventorying, managing, and securing assets — workstations, cloud services, software, and user accounts — is critical to understand what’s happening in an organization’s attack surface. 

    But asset inventory is time-consuming, especially when it comes to compiling it manually (an average of 86 person-hours!) for IT and security teams. Due to the ever-changing cybersecurity environments, the results are already stale by the time the task is completed. 

    Traditional approaches to asset inventory don’t provide an understanding of shadow IT  in a company’s infrastructure. 

    Cybersecurity asset management solutions are an important factor to a comprehensive asset inventory. These platforms track all devices, cloud services, software, and users no matter where they’re located, or their uptime or power state. 

    Platforms like Axonius do this by leveraging an organization’s existing data. They allow teams to continually conduct up-to-date inventories in real time. These platforms provide IT and security professionals with the ability to automatically discover security gaps, and allow them to customize triggered actions when an asset or user deviates from policies and procedures. 

    All this helps control shadow IT, too. 

    The other way is via SaaS management

    SaaS management solutions like Axonius connect all the layers of a SaaS stack, discovering known and unknown applications. IT and security professionals give complete and actionable visibility into all data types and interconnectivity flows. That means they’ve got visibility into the entire SaaS stack, like understanding what these apps are used for and who’s using them, finding redundant applications, and streamlining SaaS compliance reporting.

    The top SaaS management solutions help mitigate security issues, like misconfiguration risks and suspicious behavior, that expose sensitive customer and business data. 

    The Axonius Cybersecurity Asset Management solution and Axonius SaaS management solution, which work in combination, initiate all these actions in the background. Security and IT professionals can take on more proactive and preventative measures.

    And more importantly, they provide IT and security professionals with a single source of truth.  

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