Shadow IT — Enterprise IT’s love/hate relationship

You’ve probably seen ‘it’. You’ve probably been a part of ‘it’. The bigger your business gets, the bigger the shadow. It’s ‘shadow IT’… 🦇

Shadow IT is the use of IT-related hardware or software by a department or individual without the knowledge of the IT or security group within the organization. It can encompass cloud services, software, and hardware — CISCO

Shadow IT can be seen to be highly disruptive to a business or a massive opportunity for the business to sky-rocket their capabilities, reduce costs, or even make the lives of their employees easier. In this article, we’re going to talk about why shadow IT can be disruptive, why it occurs, and how to make the most of it when you see it!

Why Shadow IT can “hurt” your business

Imagine you let your friend borrow your car and the next time you drove it, it's suddenly dangerously faster because your friend gave you a secret ‘upgrade’ to your engine. There are a few things you might be thinking:

This analogy is very similar to the question an IT team may ask when new software or infrastructure is being adopted without authorization from the IT team. Adopting non-compliant technology could lead to some issues such as:

But why does Shadow IT happen?

Like how weeds grow on a lawn, Shadow IT slowly grows unnoticed until it gets almost unmanageable. Shadow IT often occurs when compliant technology does not meet the functional requirements of staff. For example, if Microsoft Teams is limited to intra-company communication. If a staff member needs to communicate with multiple 3rd party organisations, they might decide to set up a Slack account for Slack’s multi-workspace capabilities.

So how is Shadow IT managed? and how can you make the most of it?

The great thing about Shadow IT is that when it becomes an issue, it often means there is a high-level adoption of the technology in the business, and incorporating it into your business-compliant technology stack could help realize multiple benefits such as:

In order to achieve these benefits without the negatives associated with Shadow IT the following steps should be followed:

Shadow IT Management Process — www.plutora.com

If managed correctly, Shadow IT can be very beneficial for an organization. Shadow IT is often an indicator of growth within a business unit or team and in order to capitalize on this opportunity, all businesses should adopt the above three steps!

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