In a typical present day organization, Information Technology (IT) has become an extremely important function. The shadow of IT permeates every where – be it human resources, planning, finance, marketing, or other organizational functions.
However, a new trend is being witnessed in many organizations – the rise of shadow IT. This trend actually means the introduction of technology into an organization without the knowledge or blessings of the IT department itself.
According to Digplanet, Shadow IT can be described as “a term often used to describe information-technology systems and solutions built and used inside organizations without explicit organizational approval. It is also used, along with the term “Stealth IT”, to describe solutions specified and deployed by departments other than the IT department”
Actually a number of IT enabled equipment, utilities, or apps that have made into various organizations without the tacit approval of IT itself. Today, a lot of compelling businesses reasons exist why individuals or departments need to make independent purchases without the knowledge of the IT department.
Nevertheless, this is causing a lot of unease about how to manage the trend. This problem is not isolated, but exists in several companies both large as well as small in varying scales. This is an area where attention needs to be paid as shadow IT is becoming extremely problematic in the age of connectivity and connected devices.
What does shadow IT encompass
Shadow IT can present itself in various forms. These can be various utilities and even apps or equipment such as video cameras or even POS devices, Shadoe IT devices as such may be approved on a departmental basis without the knowledge of the IT department. However, these haven’t actually made into the corporate IT ecosystem.
Contrary to what you might think, a large IT staff is also not as useful. Major IT workplaces as well as enterprises are still struggling to manage the way that Shadow IT impacts their organization, mostly due to the vastness of scale and the environment in which shadow IT operates.
One of the main reasons is that IT is still considered as a supportive department or even as a cost center. For small businesses, the problem of shadow IT is even more acute. A small company is less likely to have internal IT support. Therefore, the problem can get out of hand especially for security related matters.
The Role of Managed Solution Providers
Managed Solution Providers (MSPs) have a great role to play here. They can provide tremendous value to customers, provided the problem is passed on to them and the core team can then focus on other strategic processes. A major area which needs to be take care of is regulatory compliance. Since shadow IT solutions are often not aligned with the broader regulatory requirements, regulatory authorities can be especially strict in several areas such as finance, health-care, and retail. Solution providers can therefore be of immense help to a wide range of organizations.
Here, MSPs can help identify to the owner of the concerned organization where the shadow IT might enter the organization. In many cases, even it if w and when it is detected, how it can be audited as well as ultimately blended into the existing infrastructure. Solution providers can educate customers about the potential dangers in case there are audit failures, leakages of proprietary data, as well as exposure of vulnerabilities that conceal within a network. In this way they can partner with organizations to provide the right solutions.
Therefore, the world of shadow IT usually goes unnoticed due to departmental constraints. Additionally, IT is bypassed many a times while trying to make a sale. Many a times, vendors who have a lack of expertise in IT usually rush to market their products, so many businesses are now reaching failure point.
Although Shadow IT is the name given to such devices, people are used to seeing it routinely every day in business. However, there is no use putting up barriers to shadow IT in the future, which could be the equivalent of stifling organizational innovation. What needs to be done is to train and educate employees and staff to safely incorporate new technologies in to the overall IT structure and adapting to its growth, while understanding when to step in when things seem to get out of control.