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The Dangers of Shadow IT

Shadow IT is a real threat to effective IT governance in your organisation. 

It represents systems adopted within your organisation without approval and, more importantly, without consideration or understanding of the broader impact of those actions.

The opportunities for Shadow IT have never been greater than they are today. Prevalent and easily-implemented cloud-based systems provide the means, motive and opportunity. They allow functional areas of your organisation to – typically without considering the implications – endanger your entire IT governance framework. 

Shadow IT leads to significant problems: 

Context-less Decision Making 

When an operational unit – even just an individual – makes an IT decision for their ‘benefit’, there is insufficient or no consideration for wider IT strategy and framework. 

The fix may well solve a particular problem within the operational unit. What it will almost certainly do is open up a nest of other problems for IT governance. Indeed, it can punch a hole in the governance layer that you have carefully developed and deployed. 

Loss of Control of the IT Agenda 

As we discussed last week, losing control of the IT narrative or agenda is a real issue. When Shadow IT raises it head and ‘solves’ problems it undermines the broader IT agenda. 

The ‘whole of business’ consideration is lost. Like a child, the only thing that matters is the operational unit’s needs. People make decisions in their own narrow context without having awareness of the wider impacts of those decisions.