As you begin to reduce the amount of Shadow IT within your organization, you’ll soon realize that there are more upsides than you were initially aware of. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of reducing Shadow IT:
1. Data Consolidation
Shadow IT is created by employees who have downloaded programs and processes unbeknownst to the IT department. One of the biggest reasons this is happening is because employees have become more and more tech savvy. Whether users are downloading or even creating apps for their own productivity or bringing their own devices in to use, it can seriously stress out the IT department as they try to keep track of everything.
All in all, this means plenty of redundant applications floating around that need to be consolidated. When organizations work to consolidate their data into fewer locations, they’ll be able to access, manipulate, and analyze data much easier than before. By having your data in one place, your organization will be able to save valuable time and resources and boost overall efficiency.
Speaking of valuable resources, let’s talk about the cost benefits of reducing Shadow IT. When you don’t know what software you own or who owns it, there’s no way to know how much you’re truly spending. This can result in tons of money essentially flying right out the window without your knowledge.
This is why organizations should take inventory of all non-IT sanctioned software. When you have a better grip on what you own, you’ll know which of your assets can either be removed or re-harvested. The goal is to only be paying for what you truly need. This, in turn, will help your organization cut back on unnecessary consumption and save big.
3. Drives Digital Transformation
Sometimes IT departments don’t meet eye-to-eye with the rest of the organization, or there simply isn’t enough coordination between the two. When everyone is on a different page, employees may be more inclined to go ahead and download something before their IT request has been approved.
To sum it up; sometimes Shadow IT occurs due to a lack of communication. And in some ways, pointing out that issue can actually be a good thing. When reducing Shadow IT, you should analyze which type of Shadow IT each department is using the most. This can help IT departments understand each department's individual needs and shine a light on what their core necessities are. Ultimately, this can drive digital transformation within the organization and enhance communication between IT and other departments.
4. Helps Ensure Compliance
Another benefit to reducing Shadow IT is that you will be able to ensure compliance with data privacy laws such as GDPR. GDPR requires businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of EU citizens which means that organizations need to know where the data resides before they can be sure it’s being protected. Since even the slightest presence of Shadow IT could throw your organization out of compliance, it’s crucial you understand all data regulations.
Plus, there are new laws emerging in 2020 and beyond such as the California Protection Act. This state-specific regulation is designed to enhance privacy rights and consumer protection for California residents. Be sure to keep an eye on this regulation, as it could set the stage for other states to follow suit.
5. Increases Security
Shadow IT poses serious security risks. The more unknown software employees use, the more ways hackers can attack organizations' data and infrastructure. Shadow IT can open up your organization to phishing attempts and ransomware attacks, and cyber criminals may even seek unsecure endpoints such as personal mobile devices.
Additionally, in the event of a data breach, IT departments won't know the full scope of the attack since they aren't aware of software in the shadows. This means that the threat could become an ongoing problem. When your attack surface is reduced by eliminating unknown applications, however, IT can become proactive, rather than reactive, when it comes to cyber threats. Therefore, reducing Shadow IT is actually a great way to increase the security of your organization.