What Are the Cons of Shadow IT?

Shadow IT, which is defined as unsanctioned programs that employees at a business use without IT’s knowledge, can be a big security risk to your company and a significant cost center. 

In previous articles, we’ve discussed many of the cons of shadow IT including the risks of data breaches and leaks, high cloud bills, and network or device slowdowns, but these dangers can be hard to quantify because they only become an issue if your business falls victim to a cyberattack. 

In this blog, we’ll talk hard numbers behind the direct impact of shadow IT usage.

Shadow IT isn’t just a security issue, it’s also a drain on your bottom  line. Though cloud apps may seem cheap to your department heads purchasing them on the sly, these apps can result in hundreds or thousands of lost dollars every year wasted on unnecessary software licensing. This leads to intangible losses too, like loss of productivity. Fortunately, Interplay can help you increase your productivity and save money. Win! Learn more. 

The Biggest Cons of Shadow IT: Costs

Recent Microsoft findings indicate that 80% of employees were using some form of shadow IT as of February 2021. While shadow IT exposes your company to increased cyber risk, the fact that your employees are using shadow IT doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be hacked. 

What it does guarantee is that you’ll be paying way more for software licensing than you should

For example: 

Say one of your departments has 3 people using Trello to organize their task lists ($30/month) and another department has 4 people using Monday to organize their task lists ($40/month). At the same time, your company is paying $5/user/month for all those users’ licenses of Microsoft 365 Business Basic, which includes Microsoft Planner. Microsoft Planner is Microsoft’s version of Trello and Monday, so instead of paying effectively $0 for similar software that’s included with your existing licensing, your company is now paying $70/month for the same functionality (ouch). 

Here’s another one of the cons of shadow IT: Think of the time wasted by having different teams use different task management solutions. If the department using Trello takes over a function from the department using Monday, they’ll have to re-enter all the tasks into their Trello software. To share progress updates between departments, each department will need to type the info from their task management tool into emails to send back and forth. If they were all using Planner, they could just look at each other’s progress or add more team members to a planning board. 

And, of course, if Trello or Monday gets breached, your company’s sensitive data could be leaked, including customers’ personal identifiable information (PII). Since the average cost of each stolen customer record containing PII was $143 in 2020, that shadow IT could result in a high-priced gamble.   

Quick Tip: You don’t need Dropbox, Google Drive, Box.net, Sharefile, and OwnCloud when you’re already paying for the Microsoft OneDrive / Teams / SharePoint stack, which is actually more secure and more capable than the rest of the products on this list.

Avoid the Cons of Shadow IT – Get Help from Interplay

It’s highly likely that your employees are relying on a lot of shadow IT that can raise your costs and increase your risk profile. How can you find and manage all of that shadow IT? By working with cybersecurity experts, of course! 

Start your search for friendly, knowledgeable IT experts in Seattle when you contact Interplay. Our all-inclusive IT security and IT management packages help you identify and control the cons of shadow IT, as well as take care of all your other IT worries as well.


Learn more about Interplay’s services.  


For 20 years, the friendly and knowledgeable IT team at Interplay has helped business leaders across a range of industries get more out of their tech, stress free. Not only are we always (and we mean always) happy to offer the best managed IT services, support, and advice, we’re also the team you can trust for the best cocktail recommendations here in Seattle or in Disney World – we’re versatile! All humor aside though, we’d love to help you get your IT running smoothly and securely, around the clock.

Photo by Elle Cartier from Unsplash