Shadow IT

1. Who:

  • Employees or Departments: Shadow IT refers to technology solutions and applications that are used within an organization without the explicit approval or knowledge of the IT department. Employees or entire departments might engage in using such solutions independently.

2. What:

  • Shadow IT: It refers to the use of unauthorized or non-approved technology solutions, applications, or services within an organization. These can include cloud services, collaboration tools, or other software adopted by employees without IT department approval.

3. Why:

  • Flexibility and Agility: Employees often turn to Shadow IT to quickly address their specific needs without going through formal IT channels. They perceive external tools as more agile and flexible than the solutions provided by the IT department.
  • Productivity Gains: Users may believe that certain unauthorized tools can enhance their productivity or streamline processes, leading them to adopt such solutions without formal approval.
  • Lack of Awareness or Alternatives: In some cases, employees may not be aware of approved alternatives, or they may find the official solutions less user-friendly or effective.

4. When:

  • Emergent Needs: Shadow IT often arises when employees or departments face urgent or emergent needs that they feel are not adequately addressed by the existing IT solutions.
  • Lack of IT Support: If the IT department is perceived as slow to respond or lacking the necessary resources to fulfill user requests, employees may resort to using their preferred tools independently.

5. How:

  • Individual Adoption: Employees individually adopt tools or services that they find useful for their tasks or projects.
  • Departmental Initiatives: Entire departments may engage in Shadow IT initiatives by collectively adopting tools to address specific departmental needs without formal IT approval.
  • Cloud Services: The adoption of cloud services is a common form of Shadow IT, as employees can easily sign up for and use external cloud-based tools without requiring IT intervention.
  • Education and Awareness: Organizations can address Shadow IT through education and raising awareness about approved solutions, potential risks, and the importance of adhering to IT policies.

In summary, Shadow IT involves the use of unauthorized technology solutions within an organization. It is often driven by the desire for flexibility, productivity gains, or the perception that approved IT solutions are inadequate. Addressing Shadow IT requires a combination of user education, improved IT support, and the provision of user-friendly, approved alternatives.