Businesses are constantly trying to up their game in the digital transformation era. Modernizing legacy systems, keeping on top of software updates, and building business applications are not easy feats. As organizations contemplate the path ahead, a large strain is put on the constantly constrained IT department. When the relevant stakeholders feel that the IT team will take too long to provide a solution, they choose to go for alternate options, bypassing the IT team. These alternate solutions are not always the safest of options.

What is shadow IT?

Shadow IT refers to employees using technology and software that is not sanctioned or supported by the IT department. This can include using personal devices, such as smartphones and laptops, to access company data or using unauthorized apps to complete business tasks.

Why do employees use shadow IT?

Users choose to adopt shadow IT for a variety of reasons, including:

  • A lack of appropriate tools and resources: Users may resort to using unapproved technology if they are unable to find a suitable solution within the company to complete their job duties.

  • Speed and efficiency: Employees sometimes choose to use unapproved technology because it allows them to work more quickly and efficiently, especially if the IT department is unable to provide the necessary tools in a timely manner.

  • Personal preferences: Users may prefer to use certain technology or software that they are familiar with, even if it is not approved by the company.

  • The evasion of IT restrictions: In some cases, employees may use shadow IT to bypass restrictions imposed by the IT department, such as limitations on the use of personal devices and on access to certain websites.

  • The popularity of cloud-based services: The rise of cloud-based services has made it easier for employees to use unapproved technology as these services can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.

Overall, shadow IT is becoming increasingly prevalent in modern organizations, with employees using unapproved technology solutions to accomplish their work tasks.

Risks of shadow IT

 While shadow IT may seem harmless, it can actually pose significant risks to an organization. Unapproved technology and software may not be secure, leaving the company vulnerable to hacking and data breaches.

The risks also include:

  • Weak security: Shadow IT can increase the risk of data breaches and cyberattacks as unapproved technology may not meet the same security standards as technology approved by the IT team.

  • Noncompliance: The use of unapproved technology can also put organizations at risk of noncompliance with industry regulations, such as the GDPR and HIPAA.

  • Data loss: A data silo is a set of data that is controlled by a single group and therefore not easily or fully accessible to other groups in the same organization. Shadow IT can lead to data silos where important information is not being shared across the organization, resulting in inefficiencies and a lack of collaboration. A large number of data silos makes it difficult for the organization to manage and share data effectively. This can result in data loss and decreased productivity.

  • Support issues: Employees using shadow IT will likely not feel comfortable going to the IT department for support with any issues. Even if they do, the IT department may not be equipped to support unapproved technology, leading to issues with maintenance and problem resolution.

  • A lack of integrations: Shadow IT solutions may not integrate with the organization’s existing technology infrastructure, which the employee might not know about, leading to increased complexity and decreased efficiency.

  • High costs: The use of shadow IT can increase costs as the organization may need to purchase additional licenses or hardware to support the unapproved technology. The cost of integrating shadow IT solutions into the organization’s existing technology infrastructure may also be significant.

To combat shadow IT, an organization needs to have clear rules in place that outline what technology and software is approved for use within the company. The organization should also educate employees about the risks of shadow IT and provide them with alternative solutions that have been vetted by the IT department.

 So, what is the ideal alternate solution?

Combating shadow IT with low-code platforms

A low-code platform is a software development approach that enables users to create applications through a visual, drag-and-drop interface rather than through just writing code. These platforms provide prebuilt components, such as forms, templates, and workflows, that can easily be used to create custom applications. This reduces the amount of code that needs to be written, allowing developers to create applications faster and with less technical skill.

With the rise of low-code platforms, organizations can combat the negative effects of shadow IT and empower their employees to create their own business solutions. Some of the reasons you should choose a low-code platform include:

  • A fast learning curve: Low-code platforms provide a visual, drag-and-drop interface that allows users to create custom applications without the need for extensive coding knowledge. This enables non-technical employees, such as business analysts and department managers, to create their own solutions for specific business needs without relying on the IT team for support.

  • No bypassing of the IT team’s approval: By providing employees with a low-code platform, organizations can address one of the root causes of shadow IT: a lack of appropriate tools and resources for employees to complete their job duties.

  • Data transparency: Low-code platforms also provide a centralized location for all business solutions, eliminating the problem of data silos caused by shadow IT. This allows for better collaboration and data sharing across the organization.

  • Improved security: In addition to empowering employees, low-code platforms also increase security by ensuring that all solutions are built and maintained within a controlled environment. This allows the IT team to monitor and manage access to sensitive data, ensuring compliance with industry regulations.

  • Cost-effectiveness: Low-code platforms provide a cost-effective solution for organizations. Traditional software development can be costly and time-consuming, whereas low-code platforms allow for the rapid development of custom solutions at a fraction of the cost.


Low-code platforms such as AppCreator provide a powerful solution for organizations to combat shadow IT. By empowering employees with the tools and resources they need to create their own business solutions, low-code platforms reduce the risk of data breaches and improve collaboration across the organization.

IT teams should also provide training and support for employees to ensure that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to use the platform effectively. With a clear governance structure, training, and monitoring in place, organizations can effectively use low-code platforms to combat shadow IT while also reducing costs and increasing efficiency.