What Is Shadow IT?
Simply put, shadow IT refers to any IT related projects or programmes including apps, software, services and devices being used within in a business without the knowledge of the IT department. With the increase in use of cloud technology so has the use of these unauthorised cloud-based systems, often with the intention of improving productivity and efficiency, however, this also increases the risks to businesses.
What Are the Risks and How Can I Minimise Them?
To fully understand the risks, you must know where shadow IT is hiding and the extent of the problem. Often employees won’t even know they are using unauthorised tools, meaning they are practising shadow IT. It is then worth understanding where the gaps are within your authorised tools that mean your teams are turning to unauthorised solutions.
Often there needs to be a cultural change, instead of your teams always feeling like IT is standing in the way of them doing their jobs efficiently. Talk to them about what they need, perhaps encourage them to recommend improvement opportunities or recommend services that are then evaluated. Make shadow IT unnecessary, provide the right tools by listening to your teams.
In most cases your teams are not practicing shadow IT maliciously, they are simply trying to do their jobs better, so educating them on the risks and having company policies in place that they understand will minimise the risk shadow IT places on your organisation.
Following these steps will go a long way to reducing the risk of shadow IT but it will not eradicate the risk. You must also have IT monitoring tools in place that are managed with shadow IT being flagged and acted upon.
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