Shadow IT refers to situations where individuals in an organization use IT-related hardware, software, applications, or services without the knowledge or authorization of the IT teams responsible for these tools. Shadow IT has grown prevalent in recent years with the rise of cloud-based services that give savvy employees the ability to quickly and easily improve their productivity. However, this access comes with serious risks, such as security gaps, compliance violations, data leaks, and app sprawl.
Shadow IT can be broken down into three major categories: cloud-based applications accessed directly from the corporate network, cloud-based connected applications accessed with an OAuth token, and off-the-shelf (packaged) software. Each of these categories has its own risks and associated benefits, and organizations must develop strategies to mitigate the risks while still allowing employees to use the tools that make them the most productive.