TECH TALK: What is Shadow IT?

We’ve got a new buzz word to discuss! Earlier this month we launched a new series focusing on simplifying and defining industry buzz words. We’ll be defining the words you may have heard over the last few months on the news, in an industry blog, over beers at the networking event… but maybe you weren’t quite sure what it meant. And while that Google search may have given you the quick definition, it probably wasn’t quite enough. We’ll be diving deep into each term, and sharing the implications it has or will have on the telecom and technology expense industry.

Today’s Buzz Word is Shadow IT.

What is Shadow? Shadow IT is a term used to describe information-technology systems and solutions built and used inside organizations without organizational approval. It can sometimes be referred to as “Stealth IT”, to describing hardware and software tools deployed by a department other than the IT department.

The term often carries a negative connotation as it implies the solution IT department has not approved the technology or doesn’t even know that employees are using it. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. These solutions often pose risks to the overall environment that the departments deploying them may not have knowledge of, or truly understand the complexity and larger impact of these risks.

Did you know? 80% of workers admit to using a software or hardware that has not been authorized by the IT Department. What is the risk and impact of this rampant and unauthorized adoption in your environment? This stat is from the SkyHigh Networks Report (linked below)

Where does TEM fit in? When it comes to fighting shadow IT, TEM is the beacon of transparency. Technology expense management allows organizations to truly get their arms around what software and hardware tools exist in the environment. From there, it’s up to the organization to decide whether these deployments are worth the potential risk to their environment. This transparency is worth its weight in gold. It also helps organizations get a handle on spend. When you understand where the money’s going, it’s easier to control and potentially turn off.

Connect with our team of TEM experts to learn more about how you can identify and fight shadow IT.

Learn more about shadow IT with these resources:

About the Author: Jeff Poirior

Jeff brings 25 years of telecommunications and information technology management experience in voice and data networking, server support, and telephony and security; with a significant emphasis on customer service. Prior to joining Valicom, he was chief of the infrastructure support section for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Jeff was the vice president of operations for CC&N, overseeing telecommunications, help desk, data and desk side support services. Prior to that, he served as the associate director of technical resources for Covance, responsible for managing systems and network operations supporting 1700 users in Wisconsin and Virginia. He has also led data center operations at Magnetek Electric, supporting mainframe systems, client/server applications, telephony systems, and computer-aided design. Jeff holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cardinal Stritch University and a master’s degree in business administration from University of Phoenix. In addition, Jeff is a past board member of the Wisconsin Telecommunication Association.