Shadow IT is a term that refers to Information Technology (IT) applications and infrastructure that are managed and utilized without the knowledge of the enterprise’s IT department. Shadow IT can include hardware, software, web services or cloud applications that employees turn to without IT authorization to accomplish their tasks and projects.
Shadow IT has become more prevalent in companies as employees have increasingly turned to business-focused applications in the cloud to increase productivity. According to a report from Skyhigh Networks, the average employee uses 16.8 cloud services, including 2.9 content sharing services, 2.8 collaboration services, 2.6 social media services and 1.3 file sharing services.
The scope of Shadow IT has even been expanded in recent years to include personal technology that employees bring in to the workplace and utilize during work hours.
Shadow IT’s Effect on IT Departments
While the IT department may not handle the physical infrastructure or management of Shadow IT applications and services, IT does carry the burden of ensuring security and compliance for the corporate data that employees create and transmit through Shadow IT sources.
This creates mixed feelings toward Shadow IT, as some enterprises are willing to embrace the innovation and increased productivity it can deliver, while others aren’t as willing to look past the increased risk of security and compliance complications of Shadow IT.