"Shadow IT", refers to the use of technology and software by employees within a company without the knowledge or approval of the IT department.
Whilst Shadow IT it may seem harmless at first glance, there are several reasons why shadow IT can be detrimental to a company's overall security and productivity.
One of the main concerns with shadow IT is security. When employees use unapproved technology, they may inadvertently expose the company to security risks. For example, employees may use a cloud storage service that is not properly secured, or they may download and install software that contains malware. This can lead to data breaches, loss of confidential information, and other serious security incidents.
Another concern is compliance. Many companies are subject to strict regulations, such as HIPAA or PCI-DSS, that require them to protect sensitive information. When employees use unapproved technology, they may inadvertently violate these regulations, which can result in hefty fines and penalties.
In addition to security and compliance, shadow IT can also negatively impact productivity. When employees use unapproved technology, they may not have access to the support and resources they need to effectively use the software. This can lead to delays and errors, which can ultimately hurt the company's bottom line. Shadow IT also creates a governance issue. IT Departments have specific roles and responsibilities to manage and protect the company's IT infrastructure and data. Allowing employees to use unapproved technology undermines the IT department and can cause confusion and chaos.
Why does it happen? Shadow IT can occur in large organizations for a number of reasons. One of the main reasons is that employees may feel that the technology provided by the IT department is not meeting their needs. For example, they may find that the software they need to do their job is not available, or that the technology is outdated and not compatible with other systems they use. In these cases, employees may turn to unapproved software or services in order to be more productive and efficient.
Another reason for shadow IT is that employees may not understand the risks associated with using unapproved technology. They may not be aware of the security vulnerabilities or compliance issues that can arise from using unapproved software or services. This lack of understanding can lead employees to make decisions that put the company at risk.
Employees may not be aware of the IT department's policies, procedures or governance in place for the use of technology. They may not understand the IT department's role in managing and protecting the company's IT infrastructure and data. This can also lead to employees making decisions that put the company at risk.
In addition to these reasons, employees may also use shadow IT as a way to bypass IT department's restrictions or to achieve a faster procurement process. This can be due to the fact that IT departments may have a slow procurement process, or that the IT department may not approve certain software or services.
In conclusion, while shadow IT may seem like a harmless convenience, it can actually have serious consequences for a company's security, compliance, productivity, and governance. It is important for companies to have a clear policy in place for the use of technology and for employees to understand the risks and consequences of using unapproved technology.