Is Shadow IT Leaving Your Credit Union Vulnerable to Cyber-Attacks?

There’s a serious and growing cybersecurity risk for financial institutions that may not be as obvious as some others. In fact, it may be lurking in the shadows — the shadows of your organization’s IT department, that is.

Shadow IT is the use of unauthorized technology, assets, and devices, etc. without explicit approval from an organization’s IT department. This problem has grown exponentially over the past few years and is an increasing concern for financial institutions, especially when it comes to FDIC examinations, because every device used for business purposes (institution-owned or otherwise) is an entry point for vulnerabilities and, unless managed properly, can introduce significant risk to the organization.

With the complexity of today’s technology infrastructures, more cloud options than ever before, myriad outsourcing opportunities, and an increase in third-party-provided services, it’s no wonder this has become a hot topic.

According to Strategic Link partner and Managed Services Provider IP Services, the top vulnerability points for Shadow IT include third-party Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), public cloud, on-premises applications, personal email accounts used for business, unsanctioned bring-your-own-devices (BYOD), unauthorized IoT devices or rogue Wi-Fi, and file exchange (use of unapproved, insecure, or ad hoc file exchange methods).

Credit unions’ IT and Information Security teams are responsible for any risks that come with Shadow IT. That’s why they must ensure necessary controls are in place at all times. For example, IT departments should:

  1. Have a process to detect and prevent unknown or unapproved technology.
  2. Have an automated asset management tool to scan for unauthorized hardware, software, and devices.
  3. Monitor for all methods of transferring files to third parties, including e-mail, copying information to external media, or use of Shadow IT, which may not be visible to network security controls.
  4. Conduct monitoring to ensure approved solutions are being used when needed to protect file exchanges, to avoid Shadow IT solutions.
  5. Design systems to provide the capability to monitor and alert for the use of Shadow IT. Shadow IT uses entity resources and could provide unknown avenues for exploitation.
  6. Security awareness training should include the risks of shadow IT and the rationale for preventing its use. Shadow IT happens more frequently and more easily than you might think.

One thing to keep in mind is that simply identifying Shadow IT at your organization does not eliminate it — it must be addressed promptly. However, there is also some risk when removing Shadow IT could negatively affect a department process. A credit union’s reputation, product and service delivery, and revenue stream could be affected if Shadow IT is removed without an appropriate plan.

The solution? Leave it to the experts. IP Services has been providing cybersecurity solutions to financial institutions for decades. Learn how they can help your organization safeguard against cyber-attacks — visit their partner page online or contact the Strategic Link team to get connected.

Posted in Business Solutions, Strategic Link.