From Google Docs to Dropbox to Slack, cloud-based productivity apps are allowing employees to work from anywhere, get more done and collaborate more effectively in real time. And unlike the old days when it took a team of IT professionals weeks or months to implement new software, most new-generation apps can be up and running with the swipe of a credit card.
Yet, while the convenience and power of these tools is a welcome improvement over the old days of desktop software, it creates an awkward situation where individuals or even entire departments within an organization might start using cloud apps for mission-critical functions without the knowledge or approval of their IT department.
This phenomenon of “Shadow IT” has rapidly evolved from a nuisance to a serious challenge. A recent survey found 80% of organizations have critical data stored on unauthorized platforms, and are so dependent on shadow IT that getting rid of it would seriously impair core business functions.
So what are organizations to do? On the positive side, organizations should: