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b2ap3_thumbnail_shadow_it_400.jpgThe average small and medium-sized business has trouble with the implementation of comprehensive IT solutions, mainly due to these organizations having fewer resources to allocate towards these solutions. This often leads to end-users implementing their own solutions, which can be dangerous under the wrong circumstances. By allowing this “shadow IT” to run rampant in your office, you’re putting business continuity, data storage compliance, and security on the line.

Shadow IT is a surprisingly common factor that businesses need to crack down on. Shadow IT is a broad term that refers to technology solutions that are implemented without the knowledge of management or your internal IT department.

An example of shadow IT would be an employee downloading and installing a free antivirus on his workstation if there isn’t one already present. While having antivirus is an important part of any IT infrastructure, it’s important to remember that you need to be using an enterprise-level antivirus solution, rather than a free one. This is why you always want to keep your trusted IT technicians in the loop; otherwise, you could be approaching technology management in a way which is counterproductive, or even dangerous.

Let’s go back to the antivirus example–even if the employee had only the best interests of the organization in mind, the fact is that they’re implementing technology without the oversight of professional IT workers or the IT decision maker of your business. In situations like this, you have to assume the worst. The solution could be set up wrong, which could present problems later on. Even worse, if something were to go wrong, the one at fault would be the employee, which isn’t fair for someone who only wanted to make their job easier.

Another reason that shadow IT might become a problem is if there’s an immediate problem that needs to be resolved, but your current IT staff isn’t available, or lack the resources, to fix it. This could prompt an employee, thinking only to find the most efficient method of resolving the problem, to fix the issue himself. Again, while the employees’ desire to make everyone’s lives easier is appreciated, their actions could lead to more trouble down the line due to solutions not being set up properly, or the fact that the solutions aren’t powerful enough to help. Ultimately, it becomes more trouble than it’s worth, which is why you only want those who know what they’re doing implementing technology solutions.

The presence of shadow IT can, therefore, be attributed to two reasons:

  1. The absence of a dedicated in-house IT department, which forces employees to perform maintenance themselves.
  2. An overloaded IT department that’s too busy to deal with spontaneous or recurrent issues.

Either employees are given the responsibility of performing system maintenance on their office technology, or IT is far too busy to consider implementing new solutions, let alone maintain existing operations.

Thankfully, there’s a great solution available for SMBs. NTConnections specializes in the procurement and deployment of enterprise-level technology solutions for small and medium-sized businesses. Our offerings are capable of fitting into any IT budget because they perform two critical functions: 1) We provide enterprise-level technology solutions at a monthly rate that SMBs can afford, and 2) We make it easier for your staff to get their job done, thanks to them not needing to worry about the functionality of their technology.

Even if you don’t have an in-house IT department, NTConnections’s services can be very beneficial for your business. We can provide your team with the tech support they need to fulfill their day-to-day responsibilities, and provide the flexibility that you need to fully leverage your technology. For more information about how managed services can help your business increase its bottom line, give NTConnections a call at (703) 288-9767.