Shadow IT is increasing at a rapid pace. While the effects of it can be both good and bad, learning how to handle shadow IT better makes your IT department run more smoothly and efficiently.
Trends Increasing the use of Shadow IT
Increasing Saas Adoption: More vendors are moving to a SaaS business model, so there are more options to choose from.
Sign-ups and tool use are easier to start and use quickly: SaaS applications are more self-served allowing anyone to sign-up and start quickly to use a new product to evaluate its benefits. Free trials and affordable prices and even free service have reduced barriers to adopting Shadow IT tools.
Easy to Integrate Software: Software companies are becoming wiser and making the sharing of data easy to integrate and communicate effectively with each other.
Changing IT Workforce: While the current workforce was born into the world of software, some were born into the world of app stores. We are used to choosing software on a daily basis. We are trained to use new tools, switch between tools, and do research to choose the right software for the job.
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly of Shadow IT
Shadow IT is often perceived as bad and used by rogue employees because they won’t “follow the rules.” Yet, shadow IT has some benefits, as well as those ugly and unauthorized SaaS applications, adapted by the organization.
The Good: -Those “rogue” employees often use the best and newest tools, which help make them more productive, instead of limiting themselves to a small set of tools previously approved.
-New SaaS tools motivate individuals to achieve more with less, which grows the engagement of employees.
-Employees are open to new technologies that often create new ideas, giving the business an advantage over their competition.
– Shadow IT often makes IT departments more effective and efficient cutting extra unnecessary steps that usually complicate workloads.
-Non-IT Employees tend to ask for accounts and licenses to unsanctioned software. Creating more work for the IT department who must find out who created the software, approve it, and take ownership.
– Sometimes money is wasted as alternatives to software that the organization is already paying for are replaced. Several teams may use the same tool, each unaware of the other. Conversely, as a good point, some new FREE software can replace paid software.
– When different Shadow IT tools are used and are not connected to each other, collaboration is disrupted.
– Security is possibly compromised as your company IP and the users are now exposed to several different SaaS providers, which increases cyber-attack opportunities.
– Sensitive company data is now shared among various vendors. With one click employees can upload, share, or give data access to SaaS providers without realizing the consequence of data being stolen, shared, or sold to others.
How to Handle Shadow IT Better
What it comes down to is when IT is left out of the decision of adding Shadow IT tools, it is unlikely that non-IT employees will be as knowledgeable of the dangers of some Shadow IT as the IT team is. Non- IT employees don’t see the same big picture as IT does, they are not informed of the threats and security implications, and they just don’t have the time or skills to perform the assessment needed before implementing a new tool.
Educate people and constantly communicate with the employees in order to avoid the ugly aspects of shadow-IT. Teach and educate your company about the hidden costs, and overall cost the company pays for the shadow IT, explaining the risks of picking the wrong SaaS. Don’t block the good-intentioned efforts of early adopters of shadow IT tools, instead empower them. Have them accompany you in POCs to learn the latest innovations and products in their field. Teach them to evaluate security, to be sensitive to data, to ask the right questions before the implementation of new Shadow IT.
The world of IT is changing and the boundaries between IT admin, and the employees as SaaS admin are becoming blurred. Trying to block employees from adapting new SaaS is not always a good option so IT needs to learn how to work together with the employees and LoB leaders on getting shadow-IT out of the shadows.
IT departments need to adapt to the prevalent use of Shadow IT, recognizing its good characteristics, without compromising security, financial control, and compliance of the entire enterprise. Catching Shadow IT quickly by reading data from browsers, firewall logs, integrating with product APIs, and reading expense reports helps IT departments better regulate Shadow IT.
This is exactly how Torii uncovers Shadow IT.
Looking to discover and eliminate Shadow IT in your organization? Torii is a full-fledged SaaS management platform that will guide you through it.