Shadow IT is a term used in information technology describing systems and solutions not compliant with internal organizational approval. This can mean typical internal complacence is not followed, such as documentation, security, reliability, etc.

However, shadow IT can be an important source of innovation, and can also be in compliance, even when not under the control of an IT organization.

An example of shadow IT is when business subject matter experts can use shadow IT systems and the cloud to manipulate complex datasets without having to request work from the IT department. IT departments must recognize this in order to improve the technical control environment, or select enterprise-class data analysis and management tools that can be implemented across the organization, while not stifling business experts from innovation.

Ways to IT teams can cope with shadow IT are:

  • Reducing IT evaluation times for new applications
  • Consider cloud applications
  • Provide ways to safely identify and move relevant data to the cloud
  • Clearly document and inform business controls
  • Approve Shadow IT in the short term
  • Get involved with teams across your organization to help stay informed of upcoming needs