Claranet’s recent study of 900 businesses discovered that many companies within the UK, Benelux, Portugal, Spain, France and Germany were largely dismissive of shadow IT. Although it is often regarded as problematic when used without authorisation from an IT department, only 13% considered shadow IT to be a major challenge. In fact, 48% preferred to concentrate their efforts on other issues such as security. Claranet uncovered a divisive attitude towards shadow IT, with participating companies disagreeing on whether the practice instigated data loss, endangered security and encouraged inefficiency. However, the survey also highlighted a strong lack of coordination between departments and a disregard for the potential benefits that shadow IT could bring.
Positive Shadow IT
Larger businesses in particular could further develop the practice of shadow IT by using it to circumvent any shortcomings in their centralised systems, enabling data analysis to become more efficient and streamlined. Shadow IT could be an innovative force if programmes used without authorisation by employees were monitored. Such studies could reveal problematic areas within a company’s digital infrastructure and identify practices that could add significant value to the business as a whole.
Claranet stressed that any successful gains from the use of shadow IT would largely rely on different departments developing an improved working relationship. With 74% of IT executives admitting they lack a sufficiently complete understanding of the infrastructure within their own companies, there is evidently much progress to be made before shadow IT can be used to its best advantage. The report concludes that shadow IT is an unstoppable entity, but if businesses took the appropriate steps to monitor and control it, they could utilise its potential value while eliminating its associated risks.