In the age of ‘Bring Your Own Device’ and a more tech savy workforce, IT managers are facing new challenges. Shadow IT is the term used to describe technology and online solutions a workforce might use that aren’t approved or controlled officially.
Almost all companies struggle with Shadow IT in some form another. Once companies open the door to cloud based solutions, employees increasingly have the technology know-how and skill set to exploit the situation to use those personally preferred solutions that may be perceived as ‘easier. The ‘democratisation’ of IT services mean that IT is no longer a mystical world accessible to only a few, and the growth in experience of ‘cloud’ based services for personal use means that people are no longer ready to accept the IT solutions imposed on them.
This creates challenges for organisations. It’s never been more important to keep data secure and protected – not only to keep your business safe, but also to stay the right side of increasingly stringent data protection regulations. Unauthorised apps and devices could present an easy to exploit back door to critical systems and data stores.
But how to balance data and security requirements with users’ own requirements and preferences?
Intrepid have been working with a number of organisations for whom ‘Shadow IT’ has previously been an issue. But, as we like to say, ‘the bigger the challenge, the greater the opportunity’! We’ve identified a number of issues that Shadow IT can pose, such as lack of ownership, no on or off-boarding responsibility, inefficiency and of course, lack of security of data. However, we don’t see this as a blocker – there are many potential benefits to giving users control over the types of devices and systems that they choose to use. It’s the layer of control that is placed over this by the organization that is crucial to ensure business stability.
The dynamic between IT operations and users is changing. IT has to accept that it may no longer be the only entity that controls all application and systems – so it needs to listen to user concerns and requirements, and adapt its service provision to meet those needs. We know users will want to access different tools to make their jobs easier, and that in today’s world, there will be multiple different tools to use. By working closely with users, IT can understand motivations, help to modify or enable existing programmes, provide appropriate training, or carry out evaluation and acceptance testing of preferred apps or technology.
There are also other tools that you can take advantage of, such as Okta, that can simplify integration of systems to BAU with very low impact on your existing IT. They can take over the time consuming management of provisioning, de-provisioning and access control, allowing your IT resource to spend time on higher value items.
If you have any questions about the issue, or struggle to contain the Shadow IT in your own business, please get in touch to find out how we could help.