How can businesses use shadow IT for good?

As if the quest to keep up with latest IT trends was not enough, CIOs all around the U.S. are facing their biggest nightmare as Shadow IT. But what exactly is this new phenomenon that is raising concerns for enterprises, especially IT services companies? To put it into simple words, Shadow IT is when the employees of a company start using software and services secretly without appropriate approval from their management. In most cases of shadow IT, it has been found that employees adopt it because it offers them ease to manage and complete a task fast. Although shadow IT is causing tremendous headache to companies, IT specialists can turn it for their advantage too.

The other side of Shadow IT:
There is no denying the fact that using tools that are unlicensed or unapproved by an organization is guaranteed to bring more harm to any business than good. Since most of the software used in shadow IT doesn’t comply by the government or industry compliance, they pose significant security threats. However, most IT business consultant and IT leaders are of the opinion that shadow IT can bring considerable benefits as well. Let’s find out how.

Identify what and why the team is using specific tools:
Most often, employees use particular software or application as a shadow IT tool because it offers them relative ease to conduct their day to day tasks. At times, corporate compliances and mandates can have an impact on the productivity of the employees, and they might be more comfortable using applications not approved by the organization. By formulating IT strategies to counter operating issues experienced by the department, the enterprise can resolve the concern of shadow IT.

Figure Out if the Shadow Software Poses a Security Threat:
At times, simple looking applications may contain malware that is hidden and hard to spot by non-technical staff. Once the technology is identified, do a risk assessment. Find out if the application poses any significant risk to the security of the data and how can the IT team tackle with it.

Figure Out if the Tool or a Similar Tool Can Be Used at the Enterprise Level:
The best approach to tackle shadow IT is to have open communication with the employees. Since executives and ground-level employees are the ones who use IT for their day to day work, they are most likely to practice shadow IT. It is best to discuss the application with them and find out if it is efficient enough to use. If the tools are productive for the business with no serious security concerns, consider rolling it out in the organization.

Make Sure the Tool You Adapt Meets Employee Expectations:
Even if you decide to incorporate a shadow IT software as an enterprise tool, chances are your employees will still be using other unapproved tools. To prevent it from happening, make sure the software in question is used optimally by all. Determine in advance if the tools are useful in accomplishing the goals of the business