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The Sunny Side of Shadow IT

Is shadow IT a security risk or just a new way of doing IT? If we turn the tables and start thinking of why shadow IT is becoming so prevalent, we might be able to answer that question. That’s what Narain Muralidharan proposes in an article for the ITSM Review. Muralidhara wants us to rethink our prejudice against this notorious phenomenon without ignoring the real problems it poses to the organization.

The Beacon of IT Value

Contrary to popular opinion, shadow IT is not as menacing as its name suggests. Unsanctioned Dropbox downloads and illegal catching server enhancements are not the kind of sinister activities that warrant a full scale crackdown. What IT outfits are seeing is a manifestation of the paradigm shift to SaaS and the full emergence of cloud solutions into the enterprise. The IT marketplace is doing what it is designed to do: deliver better value faster, and in ever more convenient ways:

Any manager armed with a credit card and access to the Internet can buy software thanks to vendors adopting the SaaS model, as long as it falls within the budget allocated to his department. With the consumerization of technology, it has only made things easier for credit card toting users. It is not only software that is gradually going beyond the scope of Shadow IT, but also hardware and gadgets. We live in an era where we can get a tablet delivered overnight from Amazon if the mobile testing team needs one immediately. 

IT’s Cool in the Shade

Without a doubt, all this easy and individualized access poses problems in the form of data security breaches, bug-infested software, incompatibility issues, and virus/malware vulnerability. Yet instead of focusing on the problems of the shadow IT presence, why not focus on its potential to offer solutions? The truth is that traditional IT was forged at a time of organizational hierarchy. Its methods for dealing with shadow IT reflect this. What needs to change then is not the shadow IT, but the traditional IT that fails to match its offerings.

Read the full article at:

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI’s Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master’s degree in communications at Penn State University.

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