No longer a matter of if, but when, you embrace shadow IT

176217552At LANDESK, we make it our business to understand the changing landscape of enterprise IT. In that spirit, we commissioned a study by renowned industry analyst Forrester to gain a better understanding of the challenges presented by that landscape.

We know that shadow IT—the use of personal devices and cloud applications in lieu of official, company-sanctioned solutions—is presenting new challenges and opportunities for today’s workforce. But how is that challenge being met? How are the opportunities being embraced? With the help of Forrester, we have some answers to those questions.

The changing times

The days of employees using only approved devices and services to get their work done are over. As technology becomes increasingly accessible and increasingly simple to operate, employees are crafting their own workflows to streamline operations and increase their own productivity. In short, technology management is becoming user-centric, rather than company-centric.

That presents significant challenges for IT. And it seems that companies, by and large, are focusing on the challenges… but the rise of shadow IT also presents significant opportunity.

A staggering 43 percent of enterprise tech purchases are now shadow IT. 43 percent is not a fad; it’s a seismic shift in the way business is run in the 21st century.

Why workers embrace shadow IT

It’s important to recognize that employees don’t use their own devices and applications to thwart the IT department. They use shadow IT because it helps them do their jobs more effectively. 59 percent of respondents in the study said that crafting their own workflows and using shadow IT makes them more productive. That being the case, it’s in our best interests to embrace new methods of productivity- not fight them.

The challenges of shadow IT

Embracing shadow IT doesn’t mean dismissing the very real notion that doing so comes with significant challenges. The first and most urgent is obvious: security. When employees use their own devices and service, company data, whether sensitive or not, will exist outside of IT’s purview.

Those security challenges—along with challenges in interoperability and mobility—can be overcome. But many companies choose to avoid the task instead of tackling it. In fact, an astounding 69 percent of companies don’t embrace shadow IT. But business isn’t waiting for IT to catch up.

Recognizing the value of shadow IT

Herein lies the greatest challenge: while 65 percent of those surveyed say that shadow IT is beneficial, 69 percent are inhibited in some way. We understand the hesitancy. However, if a new model could be constructed, one that embraced the benefits of shadow IT while minimizing or even eliminating the risks, that model could usher in a new era of productivity.

Of course, that model comes with its own challenges. For most companies, their current infrastructure doesn’t lend itself to adaptation very well. Moving to a model that embraces shadow IT means vulnerabilities, so the first step would have to be supremely focused on a single thing: getting secure.

What’s next?

The question is no longer whether to embrace shadow IT, but when. That may sound daunting, but a challenging road doesn’t necessary have to be a rough one. It is possible to transition to a secure, more productivity-focused workplace without sacrificing security or interoperability. It is possible to have the best of both worlds, but to make the transition requires bringing in a trusted partner who understands the nature of the problem and of the solution. That’s where LANDESK comes in.

To understand the nature of the problem, download the Forrester analyst paper. To understand the nature of the solution, get in touch with LANDESK to find out how we can make your workforce more productive and more secure than ever before.