What is Shadow IT?

Shadow IT is fast becoming one of the top security concerns for IT directors. In a survey sponsored at the end of last year by McAfee, more than 80 per cent of respondents admitted to using non-approved Software as a Service (SaaS) applications in their jobs.

This is particularly prevalent in smaller companies where employees are typically encouraged to use their own initiative to think around problems – and where, in general, there’s much less red tape than in larger enterprises.

So why is its use is growing? Well, there are 4 key issues to consider:

  • The apps employees download at home are often better than those available in the corporate environment: staff have relied on bringing in their own IT to fill the gaps in an outdated IT infrastructure.
  • Employees are ‘just getting the job done’: and using their own knowledge of apps and IT to solve problems when there is no company-sanctioned alternative.
  • Employees either don’t understand the risk – or think it’s worth it: many of us have ‘warning fatigue’ – health risks, safety risks, business security risks – and instead choose quick answers to problems.
  • The IT department hasn’t listened: without doubt, the IT team are the experts. But have they listened to what the rest of the business is saying? Probably not, if everyone is downloading their own applications.

All these issues stem from the fundamental shift in IT expertise caused by the consumerisation and personalisation of IT.

At Redcentric, we believe Shadow IT should be viewed as a wake-up call, an opportunity to understand the needs of the wider team. We work with many of our customers to explore the products and software currently on the market that are tailored for SMEs and that can provide employees with a better experience than they are currently having with any consumer-targeted apps.

Find out more about how you can counter the threat of Shadow IT, read our Whitepaper here.