Dangers of Shadow IT

“Shadow IT” refers to IT (Information Technology) systems and solutions built and used inside organizations without explicit organizational approval. It’s implemented by departments other than the IT or systems management team, usually because it’s quicker, less complicated, or less costly than going through the formal channels. However, Shadow IT poses several risks:

  1. Security Risks: Unsanctioned software and hardware may not comply with a company’s security policies or standards, leading to vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit. This could result in data breaches, loss of sensitive data, ransomware attacks, etc.
  2. Data Loss: Shadow IT typically doesn’t have the same level of data backup and recovery systems as formally sanctioned IT. As a result, there’s a higher risk of data loss.
  3. Compliance Issues: Many industries have compliance standards, such as GDPR for personal data in the EU, or HIPAA for health information in the US. Shadow IT systems may not comply with these standards, potentially leading to legal penalties and reputational damage.
  4. Lack of Support: If a system is not formally recognized by the IT department, it might not receive maintenance, updates, or troubleshooting assistance. This could lead to system failures, inefficiencies, or downtime.
  5. Cost Inefficiencies: Although shadow IT might be deployed to save costs upfront, it could lead to higher costs in the long run due to the aforementioned security risks, support issues, etc. Furthermore, redundant solutions could be purchased across different departments, leading to wasteful spending.
  6. Interoperability and Integration Issues: Shadow IT systems might not integrate well with existing IT infrastructure, causing data silos and inefficiencies.
  7. Lack of Documentation and Knowledge Transfer: Since Shadow IT is not officially managed, there may be no formal documentation or knowledge transfer, leading to issues when the employee responsible for the system leaves the organization.

To mitigate these risks, organizations should have clear policies for IT procurement and use, and should educate employees about the potential risks of shadow IT. IT departments can also strive to be more responsive to the needs of other departments to discourage the development of shadow IT.

To read more visit CSOonline

Share this post!

Learn How We Can Secure Your Business