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What is Shadow IT and Why is it Dangerous for your School or Business?

Shadow IT - What is it, and how can we deal with it? In today’s digital age, we all rely heavily on technology to streamline operations, enhance productivity, and make what we do happen better and more efficiently. Sometimes that means making more happen with less. However, alongside the official IT infrastructure, there often exists a hidden realm known as Shadow IT. 



Shadow IT refers to the use of unauthorized or unapproved technology solutions within an organization. You may have read our previous BLOG post on why allowing your staff to use personal devices on your network was a bad idea -- this is the kind of thing we are referring to. If you missed that, take a few minutes and check it out now!


What Is Shadow IT?

Shadow IT, a prominent concept in today’s dynamic business landscape, is described as the usage of any IT resources—including software, hardware, or other technology—within an enterprise without the explicit approval or even the knowledge of the organization’s IT department. 


This phenomenon typically arises when employees, driven by a desire to enhance their productivity or fulfill particular requirements, opt to use solutions outside of the officially sanctioned IT channels. 


By operating outside the purview of IT oversight, Shadow IT can potentially introduce various challenges related to security and compliance within the organization.


Examples of Shadow IT

Shadow IT manifests in various forms across organizations. Here are a few common examples:


  1. Personal cloud storage and file-sharing services

  2. Messaging and collaboration apps

  3. Project management tools

  4. Browser extensions/plug-ins

  5. Non-approved software installations

  6. Departmental databases or spreadsheets

  7. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) arrangements


While Shadow IT may seem enticing to employees seeking quick solutions, it brings along inherent risks that organizations must acknowledge. Additionally, there are potential benefits worth exploring. Let’s take a closer look at the risks behind Shadow IT in your organization.


Risks of Shadow IT

  1. Security vulnerabilities and data breaches

  2. Regulatory non-compliance

  3. Increased complexity and integration challenges

  4. Inadequate support and troubleshooting

  5. Potential loss of intellectual property

  6. Inconsistent data management practices


How to Manage the Risk of Shadow IT

Effectively managing Shadow IT is crucial to minimize risks and maximize the benefits it can bring. Using a trusted and experienced technology partner like the Techsperts at STCNtech can help wrangle Shadow IT with our suite of security monitoring tools.


We can help educate and implementing a comprehensive strategy that involves the following steps:


Promote Communication and Education:

Establish open lines of communication to encourage employees to share their technology needs and challenges. Conduct training sessions to raise awareness about the risks associated with Shadow IT while explaining the approved IT infrastructure and available alternatives.


Implement a Shadow IT Policy:

Develop a clear and concise policy that defines the boundaries of acceptable technology usage, outlines the approval process, and explains the consequences of violating the policy. This policy should align with organizational goals and address the specific needs and concerns related to Shadow IT.


Regularly Assess and Update Official IT Offerings:

One of the driving factors behind Shadow IT is the perception that the official IT infrastructure does not meet users’ needs. Regularly evaluate and update the approved technology solutions to ensure they align with the evolving requirements of employees and departments.


Provide Secure and User-Friendly Alternatives:

Collaborate with employees to understand their technology requirements and preferences. Offer approved alternatives that are user-friendly, secure, and capable of meeting their specific needs, thus reducing the temptation to resort to Shadow IT.


In less than 60 minutes, we will lay out how we can wrangle your Shadow IT and protect your organization from malicious Shadow IT and accidental data leaks through our security platforms and hardware support plans. Google schools are not immune to malware and ransomware. The TechSperts at STCNtech have been protecting organizations like yours for decades - let us help you navigate this brave new world of digital cyber-uncertainty with the best protection possible. Don't trust the science without talking to the TechSperts who have done the research and know the outcomes. Just ask us - we have data.


Contact us TODAY - 610-910-9347 - online@stcntech.com or click here

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