Shadow IT Causing Problems in Your Organization? Try Low-Code
September 20th, 2018 • low code
Imagine Claire, one of your business heads, is trying to pull out some data to make her quarterly update. While trying to copy information and format it into the right graphs, she thinks to herself, “There’s got to be an easier way.”
Claire walks down to your IT team and explains her situation. The IT project managers say, “Yeah, we can make something, but we’ve got about six months of projects ahead of yours.”
She can’t wait that long. So what are her options?
- Try to create an emergency to force IT to do her work
- Continue slogging it out manually
- Look online for a readymade tool that can do the work for her
By this point, you can probably guess what Claire is most likely to do. Studies show that 35% of employees in organizations need to work around IT security protocols and access unauthorized programs and services to get their work done.
Despite the warnings from IT teams, business users continue to download, subscribe to, and share whatever apps they can find to get their work done. These users are knowingly bypassing company protocol and risking confidential data, but feel they have no other choice.
This Is Shadow IT
Shadow IT is a fancy term for employees using applications and infrastructure with company data without the verification or knowledge of the company’s IT department.
IT’s job is to keep the organization digitally safe, and so needs to know about all the technology used. If there are any data breaches, they are the ones who are responsible for cleaning up the mess. They want to check and verify each and every application or cloud the company uses. Every company has security requirements that need to be met to ensure company data, including the data of the customers they serve, are protected.
Shadow IT isn’t the sole cause for the data leaks and hacks you hear about on the news. But it is the result of a company’s IT department being unable to provide the applications and infrastructure employees need to carry out their job, usually due to a lack of bandwidth or options from the IT team.
Shadow IT comes at a heavy price. Leaks, hacks, and vulnerabilities become even more exploitable, and when company data is on the line, there’s no question of taking chances. By 2020, Gartner predicts a third of all successful attacks on an organization will be on their shadow IT resources.
Using shadow IT services usually mean a few things.
- Employees are tired of waiting for the company’s IT department for an application or service, since usual implementations take a very long time.
- They may or may not understand the risks involved in using an unverified application, and would rather take the risk to get the job done instead of waiting for IT to provide them with a similar application.
- IT departments simply cannot attend to each and every implementation in the required time frame, making shadow IT an unavoidable and dangerous necessity.
Shadow IT isn’t a necessity, but it’s a huge liability. Here are some ways to combat shadow IT.
How Do You Fight Shadow IT?
The reason why employees look to third party applications and services is because the internal IT team either cannot or will not provide the tools they request. Or, the tools they want to use cannot be verified as secure.
One solution is for IT to meet each and every need of the business, but this isn’t really feasible in any situation. Even if you hire more programmers, there will still be additional requests and homegrown solutions often aren’t as functional as users want them to be.
Enter Low-Code, a Scalable and Sustainable Solution
Low-code platforms are development platforms that vastly accelerate the time taken to develop a software application. For a developer, the difference is obvious. It can shorten development time from months to weeks.
As the name states, low-code reduces the amount of coding needed for a developer to develop an application. Instead of manually punching out code, testing for bugs, adding new features, testing again, and finally delivering the product, low-code offers a visual interface that enables developers to build applications more quickly using pre-built modules for most functions. The amount of coding required to produce the final product is much less than coding it entirely by hand.
By allowing developers to quickly and efficiently develop apps for business users, there’s less requirement for employees to search outside the office environment for applications to do their work.
The low-code solution is also scalable and economically manageable. As the organization grows, low-code platforms can be scaled up without having to hire developers to meet the demand. A low-code platform is also less expensive than hiring developers each time there’s a need.
Extending Low-Code Everywhere
Another solution that gives you exponential productivity is a low-code platform that can be used by all business users. If you pick a specific use case, such as automating business processes, you can find a low-code platform that is so easy to use that business users can create their own apps. It also reduces the number of single point solutions you need to have that are often a result of approved shadow IT.
Shadow IT can’t be tackled through sheer force, either by hiring more developers or cracking down on the usage of unverified third party applications. To effectively tackle the issue, there needs to be some out-of-the-box thinking. With low-code, the organization’s business users can’t be left in the dark when they need an implementation. If they don’t get the tools they need, or at least have a means to make these tools on their own, shadow IT will keep growing, regardless of how many information security briefings and IT audits happen.
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