In our personal lives, we take any and all steps required to be successful and productive. If this means using a tool that may not be approved for the job, but still works, we will use it. Because of this, it is easy to assume that people would take that mentality and use it in the workplace. Because of this, shadow IT has become a bigger problem in the business world.
One of the biggest examples of this is with smartphones, tablets and corporate bring-your-own-device policies. This is where companies allow employees to bring their own mobile devices into the workplace and use them to complete specific tasks. In many cases, there is official protocol that needs to be followed or security apps added before the IT department will allow employees their personal smartphones and tablets.
However, what if a company says "no" or has an lax or nonexistent security policy? Employees still own these devices that have apps that can be used to improve efficiency and accomplish tasks. With this tool at their disposal, it only makes sense that employees would be tempted to use it anyway.
According to a recent report from Ovum, an estimated 30-35 percent of BYOD systems are considered "invisible to IT" and this is an improvement over the 50 percent that was being reported a few years ago. Making matters worse, more than half of staff members interviewed reported to have accessed company data on their personal devices and 62 percent of employees have used their gadgets at work do not have a corporate IT policy in place that governs their behavior.
Adrian Drury, the consulting director at Ovum, was interviewed by ZDnet and told the news source that similar situations are playing out all across the corporate landscape.
"The big consumerization challenge for IT is that you are in a competitive market now; people had to use what you gave them because there wasn't any other choice," Drury said. "That, of course, has all changed. If you're not being given the tools you need to get your job done, you'll go and find a way around that."
The report also found that 22 percent of full-time employees have admitted to using their personal file sync and share applications with company data. Drury said that creates a large amount of company data that is now sitting in unmanaged apps. This is all happening because the IT department is not doing its job and providing employees with the tools that they are looking for.
While this seems like it would be an easy fix, it is much easier said than done. For smaller businesses, this is especially challenging, as they lack the internal resources to manage mobile devices successfully. This is where an IT consulting firm can work with a small business to determine what is the best course of action is and create a plan. An Apple support firm can help businesses with an iOS management strategy that can optimize the popular iPhone and iPad and create an BYOD strategy that works best for the company.