What is Shadow IT?

by | May 31, 2018 | Business

Have you heard of shadow IT? If you haven’t, the shady-sounding term, if practiced, may boost or kill productivity in your work environment.


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
Here’s what you need to know about shadow IT in your organization:

Shadow IT is not new – it’s just that it’s much more prevalent today for a couple of reasons. Firstly, many services and apps are easy to install and use and do not require the skillsets of IT managers or third-party IT providers. Secondly, computer users today are more empowered than past generations to adopt new technologies to help them get their work done faster and more efficiently. In most cases, users embrace shadow IT because they believe a specific service or app will help them be more productive and collaborative.

Some examples of popular shadow IT include installing and using:

  • Facebook
  • Whatsup
  • Google G suite
  • Dropbox
So, can shadow IT be problematic? Absolutely and that’s because everyday computer users overlook serious security implications which can be very counter-productive. The risk of security breaches, loss of data and compliance violations, can result in wasted time and money. It’s this aspect of shadow IT that requires expert assessment.

How to tackle Shadow IT:

Take an inventory of shadow IT in use around the workplace and understand why a service or app is being used. Then, develop some concrete rules and regulations around shadow IT. Evaluate where certain apps indeed bring value or hinder productivity and/or security.