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4 Reasons Why Shadow IT is Taking Over

The term “Tech Stack” is used to describe the collection of approved applications, software, and hardware that individuals or teams within a company use to perform their daily business functions.

The stack includes everything from your company’s communication tools like messaging solutions and email service providers to sales, financial, and HR software that your IT and management have approved for use by different teams to achieve your corporate goals.

However, wherever a company has an established technology program, there is a risk that employees may try to work around it and work outside the stack without consulting the IT department. Although working around approved technology is not a new issue, the recent trend toward remote work and other cultural factors can worsen the problem.

According to a survey by Cisco:

  • Most companies use up to 15 times more cloud services to store company information than CIOs authorize.
  • While IT leaders estimated that their companies used 51 cloud services on average, the figure is 730.

As a business or IT leader, you need to look out for the following reasons that could drive your employees to use unauthorized or unapproved technology to carry out their tasks.

1. Poor User Experience

A common reason for employees to choose to work outside your corporate tech stack is if your existing technologies and systems fail to meet their day-to-day requirements.

For instance, employees may find that they constantly have a full email inbox and frequently miss notifications of important messages. This situation could mean that your company’s email software lacks the native features needed to keep employees’ inboxes decluttered. As a result, your employees might look to a third-party email service for official communication.

On a related note, your company’s IT leadership could have attempted to implement the infrastructure your teams need but chosen solutions that are outdated, too slow, or provide users with a poor experience when using them. When your employees face these types of deficiencies, they may feel that they have little choice but to find their solutions outside of your tech stack.

2. Inadequate Training

It is frustrating for an IT leader to invest in a cutting-edge business system, only to find employees resorting to solutions outside the stack. However, this can quickly occur if a company introduces new IT systems without adequate company-wide training for employees on how to use them.

In the email example above, is it possible that the corporate email client has all the features that the employee needs to organize their messages, but they had not received the necessary training to know they existed?

Because people have different levels of digital mastery, you will find that some employees will adapt quickly and almost effortlessly to complex technologies. In contrast, others may struggle to come to grips with your new systems. Due to confusion or frustration, employees who lack the necessary “digital dexterity” could resist adopting company-wide technology initiatives. Instead, they resort to solutions they used before and feel more familiar.

For this reason, your organization must accompany all new devices or applications with a comprehensive training program that keeps even your least tech-savvy staff in mind. Your employees should be completely comfortable with all of the options made available to them, so you should ensure that they know how to use all the benefits and features that your company-sanctioned IT systems can provide. If employees can easily use the technology and achieve the efficiencies they desire, there is no reason for them to look for alternative solutions.

3. Convenience

Another prominent contributor to the phenomenon of unauthorized systems used by employees is the increasing move toward a “bring your own device” (BYOD) culture in today’s corporate environment, with a Bitglass report showing that 76 percent of organizations now have BYOD policies.

There are many good reasons why your company would allow employees to use their own devices for work, with the main one is convenience. Your employees are familiar with their devices, and the applications installed on them and, therefore, find them easier to use than your approved corporate systems.

What’s more, whenever your employees carry their tasks away from their desks, work from home, or check email messages on the go, they introduce an additional dimension to the equation. Applications run on your company computers should also work flawlessly on portable devices like tablets and smartphones. If your business technologies cannot support multiple devices, you could find your employees looking to applications outside your tech stack to stay on top of their assignments while away from their desks.

However, suppose your IT department cannot govern employees’ devices appropriately and mitigate unauthorized applications’ possible security risks. In that case, there is massive potential for the compromise of confidential business information.

4. Force Of Habit

A Help NetSecurity survey sheds more light on why many employees today work with applications outside the company’s tech stack. The report claims that millennials are commonly dissatisfied with standard in-house tech solutions, especially if they are familiar with other applications that can carry out the same functions.

As a generation that grew up online, millennials have used a range of communication and collaboration technologies that they can quickly download and easily install onto their devices or work computers. The survey findings are worrisome because many of the respondents say they will use technologies they are used to, regardless of the Shadow IT security risks.

A big part of the problem is how younger employees approach collaboration tools compared to their more seasoned colleagues. According to the survey results:

  • Nearly half of the millennials polled prefer communicating through chat and instant messaging tools, compared to only 36 percent of baby boomers.
  • Forty-seven percent of young adults choose to work online, while only 75 percent of baby boomers prefer in-person meetings.

Let Us Help You Get Your Team Working On Your Approved Technologies

As you can see, shortcomings in your existing technology stack are the key drivers to your employees using unauthorized, third-party applications and systems. Entrance Consulting has the expertise to provide full-featured custom software for your organization and provide the training your team needs to make full use of all the features of your business applications. We also offer secure integration if there are applications outside your stack but which can extend the capabilities of your in-house solutions.
Contact us today to learn more about our exceptional custom app development and systems integration solutions.

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