SHADOW IT EXPLAINED EXPLICITLY -Risks of Unauthorized Workplace Technology


When Employees make use of technology systems, software, or services within an organization without the official permission or support of the organization’s IT department it is described as Shadow IT.

The use of personal devices, cloud services, or third-party applications that are not approved by the organization’s IT policies is included and it can happen in different organizations, such as a company, government agency, or educational institution.

Although it might come off as a timely or efficient way to get things done, it can only provide temporary advantages to employees and give rise to consequential risks to the organization. For example, unauthorized software and cloud services may not be secure and may disclose the organization to data breaches or other security threats, thereby making it difficult for the IT department to handle and maintain a suitable and secure IT infrastructure. Employees need to be aware of the organization’s IT policies and guidelines to avoid violating laws or regulations associated with data privacy and security.

Prevalence of Shadow IT in the Workplace

A survey by Cisco found that IT managers estimate that employees use an average of 15 to 22 cloud services without IT approval or oversight. Another study found that 80% of employees acknowledged using software applications that are not approved in their workplace. The prevalence of shadow IT in the workplace can be hard to estimate, as it often goes unreported and may be difficult to detect. However, research has indicated that shadow IT is a common problem in many organizations.

Reasons Why Employees Use Shadow IT

While there may be some benefits to using shadow IT, the disadvantages overshadow it. organizations should inform employees about the potential risks of using shadow IT and equip them with training and resources to ensure they are conscious of how to use technology cautiously and securely. There are several reasons why employees use shadow IT in the workplace, including:

  • Convenience: Employees may use shadow IT because it is more convenient than the approved technology provided by the organization. For example, they may prefer to use their smartphones or tablets to access work-related applications or data.
  • Flexibility: Shadow IT can provide employees with more flexibility and control over their work, as they can choose the applications and services that best fit their needs and workflow.
  • Innovation: Shadow IT can allow employees to experiment with new and innovative technologies that are not yet supported by the organization. This can lead to improved productivity and efficiency in their work.
  • Lack of support: Employees may turn to shadow IT when the organization’s IT department is slow to respond to their technology needs or does not provide adequate support for their work.
  • Cost: Some employees may use shadow IT because they believe it is more cost-effective than the technology provided by the organization. For example, they may use free cloud-based applications instead of purchasing enterprise-grade software.

The Implications of Shadow IT in the Workplace

Shadow IT can have several Implications for an organization in the workplace, including:

  • Security vulnerabilities: Shadow IT can create security vulnerabilities within an organization’s network, as employees may use applications or devices that have not been approved and vetted for security. This can leave the organization’s data at risk of being compromised or breached, which can be costly and damaging to the organization’s reputation.
  • Lack of standardization: It can generate a lack of standardization within an organization’s technology infrastructure, as employees may use different applications or devices to perform the same tasks. This can lead to compatibility issues, software conflicts, and other technical problems that can reduce productivity and increase costs.
  • Compliance issues: The use of unapproved technology can create compliance issues with industry regulations, such as those related to data privacy and security. This can result in legal and financial consequences for the organization.
  • Reduced productivity: Using unapproved technology can result in reduced productivity, as employees may spend additional time troubleshooting technical issues or adapting to unfamiliar software or systems. This can lead to delays in completing tasks and projects.
  • Increased costs: Shadow IT can lead to increased costs for an organization, which may require extra resources to manage and maintain different technology systems. Additionally, it can be difficult to track the use of unapproved technology accurately, leading to incompetence and needless waste of resources.

Importantly, organizations should establish clear policies and directives for the use of technology systems and services and provide employees with approved alternatives to lessen these risks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like