Avoiding the Impact of Shadow IT

Are your employees impacting upon your IT infrastructure through the use of Shadow IT and, whilst this is an issue that needs to be restricted within an organisation, can we learn from it?

Many IT teams still remember the days when they had full control over their internal infrastructure, before employees – particularly from the Y generation – got wise to how they could adapt the system for their own use and gain. Shadow IT is an increasingly frequent problem within businesses and it is something that, for obvious reasons, should be avoided at all costs.

Having unapproved programs and solutions installed and running from within your IT system opens up all sorts of problems; from data breaches to security concerns, it is not something to be taken lightly. But with the influx of BYOD policies and mobile workers it is no easy thing to contain.

However, despite the primary concern for a company being that they control the introduction of Shadow IT – is there more to it than this?

Looking for a Resolution

The reason for people downloading Shadow IT may be that the tools an employee requires to do their job correctly are not available to them, or perhaps there is too much “red tape” for them to cross in order to gain approval to use it. It is therefore far easier for them just to download and install a piece or software themselves and continue as usual.

Could this therefore enlighten your company and IT team? An investigation in to the use of Shadow IT and what functionality this is bringing to employees could allow you to see what tools they actually need in order to work competently and productively.

For example, users installing a program such as Dropbox – a common piece of Shadow IT within companies – may require this or a similar alternative in order to share and receive files both internally and externally. Whilst of course there would need to be management in place to ensure the privacy and security of the company’s data is protected, offering your employees a tool such as this without them having to look to Shadow IT could mean you have better control over your infrastructure whilst still giving your employees what they want and need.

When you come across Shadow IT it is always portrayed in a negative light, and rightly so, but personally I think that there is a real opportunity for your company and IT team to learn from it and evolve your IT infrastructure through the knowledge gained.

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