Tag Archives: Shadow IT

6 facts you must understand about Shadow IT

EducationSummary: A growing trend, “Shadow IT” is a term used to describe IT solutions and systems created and applied inside companies without their authorization. But, while it impacts nearly every organization, not every business leader fully understands the topic. In this article, we uncover the important facts that every business leader should understand about Shadow IT.
Continue reading

5 signs that Shadow IT lurks in your company

EducationA growing trend, “Shadow IT” is a term used to describe IT systems and solutions built and/or used inside organizations without the approval of the IT department. This could include anything from employees emailing spreadsheets back and forth to entire departments licensing third-party, cloud solutions behind IT’s back.

While the usage varies, one thing is certain: Shadow IT is growing.

photo credit: PublicDomainPictures via pixabay cc

photo credit: PublicDomainPictures via pixabay cc

Why does this happen? Why are employees bypassing the IT department with greater frequency? While this article explains a few reasons why Shadow IT happens, it usually boils down to a simple problem: The demand for IT solutions outweighs the supply. When that happens, employees seek out their own solutions.

Now, why is this a problem? Since Shadow IT usually happens on the sneak, IT departments don’t know where (or how much) it’s happening. This means they can’t monitor the spread of company data, and therefore–cannot secure any data involved in Shadow IT. What risks does this create? Steven Lowe, Founder/CEO of Innovator, LLC, sums it up nicely below:

“There are two risks from shadow IT:
1. Critical company information floating around outside of managed channels risks data inaccuracy, loss, and leaks. ‘Home-grown’ data systems may produce data that is inaccurate, lacking integration with IT reference data sources. Sometimes this may not matter, but sometimes it might. Mis-sending an email with the company payroll data attached as an unprotected spreadsheet may be a big deal, and it may not. It all depends on the data and the organization.

2. Critical company information being shared only within a closed group risks missed opportunities and omissions. Data (and software) that IT doesn’t know about cannot be used to enhance organizational knowledge and processes. If IT doesn’t know the data exists, they can’t take advantage of it, and the company may miss strategic opportunities.”

All that being said, here’s the big question: How can businesses know whether or not they even have a Shadow IT problem, considering it’s practiced on the sneak? What signs and signals should IT leaders watch for to identify business users and departments practicing Shadow IT? While I’m sure there are more, I’ve rounded up 5 of the biggest signs that Shadow IT is alive and well in your company.
Continue reading

5 (more) new realities IT must learn to accept

EducationEvery new tech trend comes with varying levels of acceptance among IT departments. When the web first rolled around, some recognized its value and jumped on board. Others sat back and waited. I’ve noticed similar responses to the recent major trends, like mobile and cloud computing.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you which trends to adopt and which to ignore. After all, every company has different needs.

However, I’d like to take a step beyond the recent trends, and focus instead on the new “realities” brought about by these trends. What’s the difference between a trend and a reality? While you can choose whether or not to adopt a trend, realities aren’t up for debate. They’re happening, whether you like it or not. You can’t sit back and see what others are doing. You must adapt.

So, what are these new realities? While this isn’t an exhaustive list, here are 5 realities to which IT departments must adapt:
Continue reading

7 reasons why end users bypass the IT department

EducationIt’s a growing problem: End users are bypassing the IT department, and opting for third-party, cloud-based solutions instead. How prevalent is this issue? According to a recent survey, 71% of organizations say employees are using apps not sanctioned by IT.

photo credit: *sax via photopin cc

photo credit: *sax via photopin cc

Of course, this opens the door for security problems. How can the IT department monitor or secure company data if they don’t even know where it’s stored? How can they avoid security breaches if employees are carrying confidential data around on their personal devices?

How can you address this issue? The automatic reaction for some is full-on war. They want to ban third-party apps, outlaw personal devices, and restrict internet usage. After all, these employees are putting corporate data at risk. They must be stopped! Right?

While I understand the mentality, full-on war is rarely a good approach. Treating users like the bad guys and implementing heavy restrictions will not only waste your time, it will alienate your employees. After all, it doesn’t address the root of the issue: Why are employees bypassing IT in the first place? Do they enjoy breaking the rules? I don’t think so. In fact, I believe they do it because they feel like there’s no other choice.

If you want to control the rise of Shadow IT in your organization, first understand the cause. Learn why employees feel the need to circumvent IT in the first place…and then you’ll better understand how to control (or even harness) it.

So, why do end users bypass the IT department? What can you do about it? To help you answer those questions, we posed them to a few experts in the area, and have compiled their answers below. Here are 7 of the most common reasons why end users bypass the IT department:
Continue reading