In today’s modern world, people have grown used to getting what they need almost instantly. The same holds true in the workplace – if an issue arises without a clear, IT-sanctioned solution, a quick internet search will likely reveal a remedy that can be implemented without ever involving the IT department. These unauthorized programs and systems are known as Shadow IT and can leave organizations open to various levels of risk. Let’s further examine how SH(adow) IT actually happens.
There are four main reasons why Shadow IT occurs:
IT resources do not match the needs of the employees.
If IT offerings do not allow employees to complete their tasks in an efficient and timely manner, they will look elsewhere for solutions that can help them more easily meet their deadlines.
There is inadequate coordination between IT and the other departments.
Employees will look for a simpler way if they feel it is a hassle to “go through IT” or if the IT department doesn’t clearly communicate what they have to offer.
Employees are becoming increasingly tech-savvy.
In today’s world, technology is everywhere and consumers are becoming more and more aware of the options that are available to them. Without a proper IT policy in place, employees won’t hesitate to use the systems and processes they are most familiar with.
External customers and partners can influence employees.
If IT-approved solutions are not user friendly or widely compatible with programs used by external companies/customers, employees will find their own solutions to ensure they can appropriately communicate and get their jobs done.
As you now know, Shadow IT is caused by programs and systems that are not approved by the IT department. That means that IT has not been able to properly test the systems and cannot oversee and manage them. Without the knowledge and guidance of the IT department, these systems leave companies at risk for security, financial, and compliance issues.
Without knowledge of which systems are in place, IT is not able to the provide the necessary security updates and patches needed to prevent hacking and data breaches. The necessary safeguards for availability, data integrity and continuity will not have been considered nor implemented.
Solutions implemented outside of the IT department result in errors in budgeting based on consumption, investing in products that aren’t being used, and even missing opportunities to enable volume discounts.
There are many data compliance regulations in effect across the globe (GDPR, HIPAA, FISMA, and ITIL, to name a few). Without the guidance of the IT department, it’s easy to become noncompliant (which can result in financial penalties, as noted above).
With so many options at their fingertips, employees are rapidly deploying technology solutions without the knowledge of their IT departments leaving organizations open to significant (and potentially damaging) security, financial, and compliance risks. SH(adow) IT happens…but we can help you manage it. With proper planning and the right partner, IT teams can pull their organizations’ software assets out of the shadows, for good.
Our next blog – SH(adow) IT Happens – How can I fix it? – will provide more information on how to remove Shadow IT from your organization.
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