Shadow IT: here, there and everywhere

Shadow IT is common practice within most organizations today. When employees turn to cloud-based tools or SaaS products that haven’t been approved or evaluated by their organization’s IT department, information can become vulnerable to new risks.

Shadow IT, by definition, is technology not regulated, provisioned, or formally approved by an organization’s IT department. Shadow IT is nothing new – for years, it has been known that employees bypass IT departments to use the tools they want to get their jobs done.

Yet, this means that employees are using shadow IT for a reason. It actually seems that one of the most common motivators for users of shadow IT to choose an unapproved tool is because it’s more efficient and effective than the one the IT department chose. The tool that hasn’t been approved by the IT department may even be able to solve a problem that the approved corporate tool couldn’t.

Nevertheless, recently the acknowledgement of shadow IT has been followed by a conversation around the unintended but potentially dangerous consequences. These consequences can be broadly categorized as follows:

Security risks. By using unauthorized software that contains vulnerabilities, malicious code, or uses insecure connections can put corporate assets at risk. As malware can take down systems in the blink of an eye, a well-intended user can end up doing more harm than good when using unapproved software.

Reduced efficiency. Organizations must realize that with shadow IT comes data silos, which prevents information from flowing freely throughout the organization. Furthermore, as shadow IT puts additional pressure on network and computing resources, systems failures or other outages may emerge.

Compliance failure. As organizations can’t control what they can’t see, shadow IT makes it impossible to comply with licensing policies of all the IT assets used within an organization.

Hidden costs. The hidden costs are the direct consequence of the risks described above and include, damage caused by security breaches, unnecessary expenditures, lost productivity, overpaying for licenses, and investing time and money into the wrong solutions.

Shadow IT has it pros and cons, so what can be done to address the issue. According to a study by Frost & Sullivan, “trying to limit SaaS usage in your business is like shutting the barn door after the horse has escaped: it won’t help, and you will just look foolish for trying”.

How to address the issue of shadow IT
However, it’s understandable that many IT departments would react instinctively by trying to shut shadow IT down and make users adhere to existing policies, but rather than attempt to restrict usage, the study states that “the goal should be to enable the freedom your employees need to do their jobs better, without compromising company security and liability”.

IT departments can address this by creating an environment that breeds trust and cooperation, where both employees and the IT department will be open minded and willing to find compromises that are best for the organizations.

As employees hired to play a specific role may know more about the tools of their trade than the IT department, it makes sense to see if the employees and the IT department can come together to bring good tools out of the shadow.

So what’s the answer?
Cluedin’s integration platform can help organizations find a balance. The Cluedin iPaaS allows organizations to loosen restrictions that are getting in the way of business agility, flexibility and innovation without compromising the general overview of the tools used within the organization or compromising security.

By integrating every tool used within the organization into Cluedin, IT departments are given a complete overview of the tools used within the organization as well as the ability to deliver the same high security and compliance to every tool integrated into the platform.

If you want to know more about how Cluedin can ensure security, efficiency, and compliance as well as help you create an overview of the tools used within your organization, please contact our integration specialists.