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  • Writer's pictureGreg Miller

AI Tools and Tech Are Driving Shadow IT. What Can You Do About It?

What is Shadow IT? It’s the growing risk caused by the use of tech tools (most recently AI-based tools) without proper vetting and approval from IT. Typically, IT’s role is not to determine what a business can do, but rather to provide infrastructure, support and protection from threats and risks (e.g. data privacy, security issues, commercial operations, etc..). This can quickly become a very challenging situation. Much like in the past, tools like email and instant messaging were used by many users before IT could catch up. They quickly became part of the fabric of how businesses operate, so IT had to adapt and find a way to govern and secure these innovative tools. The same is true for AI now. With this in mind, there is a critical need for clear policies and strategic frameworks to govern their use.


So what can you do?


Here are 3 steps a business can take to move in the right direction:



1.   Develop a Collaborative Strategy: It's vital for CIOs and technology leaders to collaborate with stakeholders across various departments. This ensures that the use of AI tools aligns with broader business goals and tackles the challenges posed by Shadow IT, where unauthorized software can evade standard security measures.

2.   Define Clear Policy Guidelines: A robust policy should clearly articulate acceptable and unacceptable uses of AI tools, focusing on safeguarding sensitive information and ensuring ethical compliance. Given the pervasive nature of AI tools, policies must also address the risks associated with Shadow IT by setting boundaries for unauthorized software and devices.

3.   Educate and Train: Organizations must enhance understanding and compliance through strategic educational programs. Training should cover the ethical use of AI, data security, and the importance of human oversight, while also emphasizing the risks associated with Shadow IT and unauthorized AI implementations.


With AI technology rapidly advancing, an ongoing strategy that includes regular policy reviews and updates is crucial. This dynamic approach allows companies to safely leverage the latest AI innovations and ensures compliance with both internal and external requirements, all while keeping Shadow IT in check. By adopting this comprehensive approach, companies can harness the benefits of AI while mitigating associated risks, including those introduced by Shadow IT.

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