Let’s Cast a Light on Shadow IT

August 18, 2023


Be honest: Have you ever used your cellphone at work when you weren’t supposed to? Brought in your personal laptop to use as an extra screen? Connected a bluetooth speaker to the WiFi for a company party?

There’s actually a name for this. It’s called shadow IT…and it poses a HUGE risk to the data stored on the company’s network and systems.

Common forms of shadow IT include…

  • Cloud services 
  • Mobile apps 
  • Personal devices 
  • Communication tools like instant messaging or video conferencing
  • Software applications that you need 

What’s the Big Deal About Shadow IT?

Any technology that your company gives you access to has most likely been vetted for vulnerabilities and security risks. How much do you know about your personal devices’ firewalls and antivirus software?

Unlike your work computer, unapproved tools and services probably lack proper security measures, potentially exposing sensitive data to cyberattacks. They may also not be compliant with data protection laws and other industry regulations!

Then there are practical disadvantages: Using tools and services that your coworkers don’t have makes it more challenging to collaborate on projects and seamlessly integrate your work with existing systems. It can become inefficient and arduous to work together or send important projects to your boss.

Shadow IT also tends to have weaker security than the technologies installed on your professional devices. If your device is compromised and you’re connected to your work’s WiFi, then it could infiltrate all of the professional systems connected to the network. That could spell huge trouble for your organization…and all of the private data stored within it!


Shadow IT isn’t just dangerous to your place of business…it slows down your own work productivity, makes it more difficult to collaborate with other people, and puts all of your data at risk too.

If you really feel like you need some of these programs and devices, then speak with your superiors and the IT department to see if they can’t find a safe, secure and efficient solution for you. Bringing your own devices to work only puts your systems at risk—personal and professional alike.

Just because shadow IT may seem more convenient in the moment, you don’t always know the security implications and compliance requirements that come with that decision. If you don’t understand why certain applications are restricted or required…just ask!

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