The term shadow IT refers to the systems and solutions that are used inside an organisation without a specific approval. One of the most common examples of shadow IT is “shadow communications” that is often used to describe employees using their private life social media applications for collaboration and communication within their team or a project group.
There are many risks in using non-business social media apps for the work purposes. The use of the shadow comms applications can result in accidental leak or loss of confidential company data as the solutions that are created for consumers tend not to fulfill the data protection requirements of enterprises. In addition, when it comes to the business usage of informal platforms, the ownership of the data and possibilities to moderate the discussions are problematic.
Replace the shadow comms with enterprise ready comms tools
The first thing to consider when you notice that your employees are using their non-business messaging apps and collaboration spaces for work should be: does your organisation offer these types of tools to your employees? Clearly, there’s a need for them and it’s unlikely this will change in the future as more and more of the workforce will be Millenials who crave sufficient technology and communication in their workplaces. Figuring out the key use cases for the collaboration and comms apps that your employees hope to use in their daily work is a great way to start the process of mapping which solutions are you missing.
During your research you might also notice that your organisation is actually offering collaboration and comms tools, but the employees are not satisfied with the solutions available. Find out why are your employees not using these existing tools; are they outdated or should you invest in a bit of internal marketing to make your employees aware of the offering? In case the tools that are already in place have all the functionalities needed, educate your employees about the benefits that the business tools have over the private social media tools. Modern business solutions should have equally as intuitive look and feel as the consumer solutions and, on top of this, integrate with your other business solutions such as your file storage and people directory.
Ensure an adequate level of security and control
In case you will notice that you’ll need to introduce a new solution to your company, there are many things to consider when getting started with this type of a project. When it comes to tackling the problems caused by shadow IT, make sure that the solution you choose is enterprise ready and offers you at least:
- Easy onboarding and offboarding processes that ensure that if your employee leaves the company, the content they have created with the tool will not be lost
- An adequate level of admin controls and granular access controls that enable different user roles and access rights
- Secure, closed social platform that integrates with your business tools