What is Shadow IT

In simple terms, it is any solution, technology or IT system that is used in an organization without explicit approval of the IT department of that organization.


Why People Use Shadow IT?

There are many reasons employees turn to shadow IT solutions in an organization. Perhaps it is to boost employee performance or help individuals keep up with the demand. There are also some employees who use these solutions purely for because  they are more comfortable using them rather than the what the company has provided and approved.


Application in Different Work Environments

SaaS products and other such cloud services are a common example of shadow IT. Dropbox and Salesforce are also other common examples. The people who are hired by the organization for performing application or PC support or for the development of new products or services can also be considered a part of shadow IT when they are not added to the corporate IT system.

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The Risks Involved

As with any aspect of a business, there also serious risks involved with shadow IT solutions in an organization as both the employees and the business owners must take careful measures to make sure data is not at risk of loss or exposure.

Below you will find the most common risks involved with using shadow IT solutions:


Security Risks

Three kinds of security risks are involved with the use of shadow IT solutions:

Unpatched errors and vulnerabilities: There are new patches and advancements rolled out every now and then by the manufacturers of these software. If the software is run by the IT department, they will take care of all these updates and developments. However, individuals don’t usually take care of these things which can result in your data and important information put to risk.

Data loss: Running unapproved software within your organization puts the company at the risk of losing important data. This specially becomes more critical when backups are not made of this important data and there are no options for recovering.

Compliance issues: Using shadow IT solutions can put organizations at a risk of legal issues and large fines since they are violating compliance standards set forth by regulatory authorities.


Business Risks

Inefficiencies: While most people use these shadow IT solutions to increase their efficiency, it can have a negative effect as well since they do not have any proper training provided by the IT department. There will also be some software and hardware compatibility issues and the employee might not know about it until it is too late.

Financial risks: The organization wastes money by using shadow IT solutions because these solutions duplicate the standard products, which are rendered useless. The company will still be paying for the infrastructure and software charges without people making any actual use of them.