Bringing Shadow IT Out of the Shadows

Shadow IT

Too many enterprises are struggling under the weight of shadow IT. A no-code enterprise application development platform can help.

Cloud-based enterprise solutions provide many advantages such as remote access, hardware agnosticism, and easy implementation. Unfortunately, these very benefits also contribute to an increased prevalence of shadow IT.  

Faced with long IT project backlogs and a shortage of IT resources, many employees turn to the ease of SaaS products to make their own unsanctioned IT deployments. According to 2019’s Oracle and KPMG Cloud Threat Report, 93% of survey participants who had moved business-critical operations to the cloud reported they were struggling with shadow IT. According to researchers at the Everest Group, the average enterprise devotes over 50% of their IT budget to shadow IT-related costs.

The fact of the matter is that the cloud isn’t going anywhere—nor should it have to. The goal of this article is not to eliminate shadow IT, but rather, to illuminate the issue and explore how a no-code platform can help enterprises manage it effectively.

What Is Shadow IT?

Shadow IT refers to applications, IT infrastructure, and projects that aren’t directly managed by the in-house IT department. The name “shadow IT” may sound scary, but the reality is that the majority of apps that employees use every day—from SaaS file sharing apps like Office 365 to productivity apps like Trello—count as shadow IT. In a lot of ways, shadow IT has become an integral part of how we do business today.

However, it can pose a threat because IT departments aren’t able to reliably secure sensitive assets, if they aren’t aware of all the software that comes into contact with them. At best, shadow IT projects may fail to meet the quality standards of IT-sanctioned projects, or result in unwanted expenses that duplicate the functionality of existing IT capabilities. At worst, shadow IT can put your company’s security at risk. 

Shadow IT buyers often don’t have the same cybersecurity concerns in mind that IT teams do, so it’s highly likely that the sensitive information they’re using within these apps is not being managed in the most secure way. 

The Origins of Shadow IT

Despite the potential consequences, shadow IT is not inherently malicious. The vast majority of employees resort to shadow IT because enterprise IT departments are overworked and understaffed. In some cases, business users take matters into their own hands because there’s such a deep divide between the business and IT departments that the solutions offered by the IT team don’t necessarily align well with the rest of the company.

Although shadow IT poses certain security risks, it’s not all bad. Shadow IT solutions may offer greater productivity and efficiency than existing IT solutions. Shadow IT can also provide teams with the flexibility that is crucial for driving innovation

To preserve the benefits of shadow IT while mitigating the risks, IT teams must find a way to increase capacity and collaboration instead of letting other teams run amok with unsanctioned technologies. Fortunately, there is a way. 

How No-Code Platforms Fit In

Enterprises don’t have to get rid of shadow IT entirely, but they do have to manage it more responsibly—that’s where no-code comes in. No-code platforms achieve the right balance of speed and security. The Unqork platform, for example, is deployed securely within the cloud—which also means users can collaborate freely and are empowered to build the custom software they need. 

With a no-code platform, IT teams don’t have to relax security and compliance standards and the business teams will have the functionality they need. When custom applications can be built easily and quickly, it mitigates the need to turn to external off-the-shelf software

By bringing shadow IT out of the shadows, you are able to maintain security standards and avoid redundancies. In order for IT to operate in a way that satisfies all teams in an organization, you don’t need to eliminate shadow IT—you just need to eliminate code.  

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