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Shadow IT is often defined as internal IT projects outside of IT that were considered important sources of innovation. It also refers to simply any unauthorized uses of IT. While many companies could hear “shadow IT”, or “stealth IT” and turn down the idea because of fear, there are many benefits to shadow IT.

In the past, shadow IT was often caused by an impatient employee’s wishes for immediate access to software, hardware or a web service, without going through the company’s required process. However, today, the meaning has expanded to include personal devices that the employee might use at work, or a program or cloud service that the IT department is not aware of.

By not having to involve the IT department with every move, shadow IT gives a company the ability to move quickly to address specific needs. Shadow IT is often easier to use than what the IT department buys, and almost always has user buy-in and acceptance. Another benefit of shadow IT is that it doesn’t impact the IT budget. It can also result in greater employee productivity.

Recent studies have found that 40 percent of employees admit to buying unauthorized applications and cloud services for business use. Sixty percent of overall IT spending is still under the control of the IT department, but 35 percent of cloud apps are purchased outside of it. Annually, businesses spend $45 billion on shadow IT.

The key for using shadow IT in a safe and beneficial way involves a few different things. On the technical side, the company needs to first recognize the need or current use of shadow IT. Instead of trying to hinder the usage, they then need to enable it, along with offering the right support. Lastly, they should work to secure/control it, and curtail it if necessary.

Still curious about shadow IT? Give Stratosphere Networks a call at 877-599-3999.

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