Home > Corporate, Technology > What is Shadow IT ?

What is Shadow IT ?

January 15, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

This is a quick Blog/Rant after a quick meeting with some of my user base after the migration of one of one their ops server to a virtualised server and stumbling across there shadow IT and am now in the process of (additional time and resources) moving that across as well which inspired me to create  a quick blog.


Shadow IT Definition

“Shadow IT refers to the use of technology inside an organisation without the formal approval of the IT department. It ranges from the minor, such as unauthorised device usage, to the major: entire enterprise IT systems that can be funded and developed by business units or departments without the knowledge of the central IT team”

What is so bad about shadow IT?

Software asset management (SAM) is a big enough challenge when only the IT department is looking after the procurement of software licenses (Not including BYOD), But when the other departments procure without the IT department involvement software asset management is no longer possible and is a real headache come audit time of the infrastructure.

 Support of non-procured equipment (NPE) You answer a helpdesk ticket and discover that your customer is trying to install a NPE on to a corporate PC; this would normally result in to call to IT department manager who has a word with the customer’s manager and then your manager tells you to install it anyway this results in slew of helpdesk tickets as you try to get it to work with corporate infrastructure.

Lack of testing and change control is also another headache where new devices or applications appear without guidance from the IT Department, which results in the change and release management processes are missed and the impact on other of parts of the infrastructure are missed when planning works or updates (for example the moving of a physical ops server to a virtualised server)

What can the IT department do about it?

Building Blocks

You could use policy either though general corporate policy or IT policy to ban the use of non-approved equipment and software, it would in fact makes it harder to locate and integrate with your corporate infrastructure and makes the IT department look like the bad guys.

Do some root cause analysis to find out why shadow IT is active within the organisation, is it because the IT department is moving too slowly for other departments or is the IT department is seen as the Department of NO ?

Does your department have a clear roadmap for future showing what the department has planned and better still do upper management know that you have a roadmap?

Can the IT department be changed from a “we support everything and build everything” to “here’s how you build and support it” by fostering relationships (Partnerships) with the other departments the IT Department could be changed to become a trusted advisor rather than an adversary and share a common framework.

Categories: Corporate, Technology
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