Shadow IT emerged and was sanctioned by the Vice President to overcome hurdles in achieving the desired outcome without involving IT.
Shadow IT may originate from an engineer, researcher or scientist who seeks to obtain the required technology that has been declined, without IT or senior management’s knowledge.
In every case, the individuals participating in shadow IT were clever and skilled enough to procure, implement, handle, and execute their technology solutions independently, or at least, identify any problems with the applications.
Advancing beyond two decades
Traditional IT infrastructure is no longer the only available option; IaaS, PaaS and SaaS have opened up new possibilities for businesses. Research conducted by AV firm McAfee and others has revealed that tools for communication and content collaboration, such as project management, file sharing and email, can be easily obtained without involving IT department. Furthermore, most cloud-based SaaS providers offer cost-effective and convenient access to their software via free versions.
The primary similarity between this instance and previous ones is the lack of comprehension within the IT department. If IT is oblivious about it, it can be categorised as ‘rogue IT’ instead of ‘shadow IT.’ Due to the boost in cloud usage during the COVID-19 pandemic, distinguishing between the two has become more than just a linguistic nuance. Read more about how renewable energy is transforming the industry here.
According to Rob Zahn, CIO of AAA of Ohio, prior to the pandemic, IT had already been moving towards being more open in allowing business users to select and employ their preferred applications. The pandemic served as a catalyst for this change in perspective, accelerating its progress.
When asked about IT’s involvement in granting approval for department-level tech initiatives, he responded by stating, “We would like to be informed about the project’s specifics and believe that we can be of assistance.” We have a significant amount of work to accomplish. We will attentively consider your propositions, provide guidance where relevant, and then “approve” if there are no components that IT needs to manage.
Shadow IT refers to IT’s knowledge of the tech employed by their business counterparts, but does not bear the responsibility for routinely managing it. Anything that surpasses this level is considered impermissible “rogue IT.”
IT can be classified into three categories: traditional IT, rogue IT, and Shadow IT. It is the responsibility of the IT department to arrange, provide and control the available technology. The costs, time requirements and risks involved with each of these categories vary.
In terms of security and compliance, rogue IT represents the most significant threat to businesses. Inadequately managed Shadow IT can result in high expenses. Although IT possesses potential, it frequently fails to meet expectations; yet, IT teams are typically aware of the problems and, in the majority of situations, have the expertise to resolve them.
The Advancing Mindset of Information Technology
Several factors have contributed to IT’s current adoption of cloud-based applications. Firstly, despite its increasing significance, IT departments are often understaffed and lack funding. Additionally, cloud-based solutions frequently provide features that match or surpass those offered by their client-server, on-premises counterparts. Numerous Software as a Service (SaaS) businesses, such as Salesforce.com and Hubspot.com, have emerged as the standard-bearers in their field.
Developing customised IT solutions that compete with Software-as-a-Service in terms of affordability, features and usefulness is not a cost-effective use of resources. IT’s main emphasis should be supporting the company’s application of technology rather than maintaining and operating it.
IT personnel are occupied with a multitude of mission-critical applications for which they are accountable. Due to the intricacy involved in migrating or replacing these applications in the cloud, it is imperative that IT guarantees their effective and dependable operation for as long as possible.
The Significance of IT in Regulating Shadow IT
When making use of its technological capabilities, IT can be a significant asset to the company. The most recent advancements in mobile, Software as a Service (SaaS), cloud, 5G, and other technologies present possibilities to enhance revenue and decrease expenses. The company can accomplish both goals by collaborating with IT to utilise these tools.
It is crucial to acknowledge that Information Technology (IT)’s significance has grown gradually. Only IT professionals possess the necessary knowledge to detect potential security and compliance problems that may arise from the use of cloud services. Even apparently secure programmes can be susceptible to configuration errors, resulting in unauthorised access to sensitive data.
In today’s legal and regulatory milieu, businesses may be subject to fines and legal action of varying degrees of severity due to mistakes of this type. Two significant examples that come to mind are the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) from the European Union and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Furthermore, many comparable bills are currently under consideration by legislatures.
Managing cloud user entitlements and rights is a complicated undertaking that necessitates expertise and experience. I recently had a conversation with an identity and access management (IAM) service provider who notified me that Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers up to 7,000 distinct rights to customers. If inexpertly handled, the customer is at risk of becoming a “shadow administrator,” compromising the security of their networks, data, and applications. This is an issue that IT professionals should address.
As in the past, IT is presented with the task of managing the vast majority of rogue and shadow IT that is introduced into the company. As a result, it is crucial to remain proactive in order to keep pace with the evolving environment.
Zahn, of AAA, has suggested that building relationships with other IT leaders and sharing knowledge on cybersecurity threats, applications, and vulnerabilities is crucial. It is important to comprehend the technology they currently employ, their interest in operating equipment, and how IT can support ongoing projects. By doing so, IT can transform from being perceived as an obstacle to being a valued ally.