The Most Common Shadow IT Risks And How To Avoid Them

Shadow IT Risks And How To Manage Them

There are so many services, applications, and even devices that company employees can use nowadays without the IT department’s approval that it has led to a special term “shadow IT”. In this article, you will learn about shadow IT risks and the methods to reduce them.

What Is Shadow IT And Why Is It A Problem

Companies usually use specific technologies approved, maintained, and sometimes even totally developed by their IT departments that set up a certain level of security and know how everything works. However, employees can start using alternative services, programs, applications, or devices they consider more convenient, and this is what shadow IT means.

Shadow IT is a security risk in the first place because any break-in of any service potentially leads to a variety of problems the IT department can’t prevent or fix.

Shadow IT risk management is a very important thing for the company. Since it’s very hard to prohibit people from using software they like and companies always run the risk of facing the downsides of shadow IT, mitigating security risks is a crucial task for any business that cares about itself at least.

Shadow It Risk

Common Shadow IT Security Risks You Should Be Aware Of

Although employees may just communicate in a popular messaging application, this and other ostensibly harmless cases have a number of shadow risks.

Data Loss

Multiple SaaS solutions as well as other services offer messaging and file sharing. These features are enough to lose tons of critical data because of a data breach, although even losing metadata can be a big blow. Besides having lost, data can be stolen and used to harm a company and its employees individually.

Compliance Issues

Companies work on regulated markets that have their own specific rules and regulations to comply with, so companies supply their employees with software to process users’ data by the rules. However, the risks of shadow IT include compliance issues means losing full control over data, and leading to lawsuits and reputation losses.

Control And Visibility Loss

When a company has problems with shadow IT, mitigating security risks include regaining control and visibility. Because the IT department is simply not aware of the software used by company employees, the detection of potential problems or their quick fix becomes very hard as it requires initial control and visibility.

System Inefficiency

One of the reasons shadow IT emerges is the convenience of alternative software solutions, but its use may decrease overall system efficiency. Companies build their own complex infrastructure, but it’s ruined by adding more and more services that don’t belong to it, breaking the data flow and interfering with the ability to maintain the system.


Besides the downsides related to security, such services as shadow SaaS is a threat to business finances as it usually raises costs as business needs increase, while employees don’t use licensed software causing wasting money.


Shadow IT risk management also covers other potential problems. For example, in the pursuit of convenience one department can start using one shadow service and still communicate with the other department using an alternative service, so the convenience people want to achieve turns into inconvenience in addition to the drop in efficiency.

How To Reduce The Risks

There is a whole list of measures that help reduce the risks of shadow IT:

  • Learning the needs of different organization departments and their thoughts on using implemented and new technologies.
  • Sharing knowledge about the risks regarding shadow IT.
  • Monitoring users’ activities to speed up the detection of shadow IT.
  • Shadow IT risk assessment to learn which technologies pose the biggest threat and should be considered for further replacement by others.
  • Starting an innovation process to develop new security policies and implement new technologies according to them.

SpinOne For Shadow IT Risks Management

You can start managing shadow IT risks with the tools provided by Besides the range of measures implemented for monitoring, assessment, control and reducing such risks, there is the SpinOne AI-powered platform to protect popular SaaS solutions in an automated way. Don’t be too late discovering the needs of your organization, otherwise it may result in loss of data, money and reputation.