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Shadow IT --- Friend or ..........

"I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow." -- Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

"I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow." -- Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar Shadow

IT creates many systems that are used to find quick and sometimes innovative solutions to business challenges. Many of these become prototypes for mainstream IT solutions. Some of these may not conform to corporate standards control and security.

The sourcing and control of data is one problem that Shadow IT often fails to address. There can be problems with different versions of data which can create inconsistencies and misunderstandings. There can be problems with privacy and safeguarding data.

Multiple copies of data often lack defenses against cyber attacks as well as accidental or malicious misuse by insiders. IT organizations can mitigate some of these risks with strong controls around access to data. Production data should only be available with proper authorization.

But data must not be held hostage or smart individuals will find ways to get around controls. Realize that there is a need for data. Create processes to release data. Have "Golden Copies" of Masked Data available for Shadow IT testing. Work with Shadow IT and many of the dangers around it can be controlled.