Shadow IT Explained

Shadow IT Explained

Shadow IT refers to the usage of applications, devices, software, and other IT services outside the approval and guidance of the IT department. While it poses risks for employees and their companies, shadow IT also offers advantages, especially for the workforce.

As cloud-based applications and services continue to emerge, employees often choose to handle their workloads using apps or software they find more convenient and efficient than those provided by the company. For instance, an employee might opt to use Google Drive to store files and documents, even if the IT department prohibits such services outside their control.

The use of personal devices, such as mobile phones and laptops, along with the adoption of cloud-based services, significantly enhances the productivity and efficiency of employees. However, this shadow IT practice introduces security risks, potential compliance violations, data leaks, and other challenges.

Since shadow IT promises a much easier and faster process, employees also tend to share such services with other co-workers and ultimately, the workforce can be operating altogether outside the provisions of the IT department. The disadvantage here is if departments A and B use the same services without them being aware of it, the cost of the companies can be doubled as they use different subscriptions or accounts. Also, getting approval from the IT department can be time-consuming and may reduce the productivity of the employees.

As a solution, companies do not need to eradicate shadow IT since it is also helpful for their employees, especially in remote setups. Instead, the IT department must educate the employees on how to properly use cloud-based services and take preventive measures to manage such applications. 

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