Shadow it – A View from Behind the Curtain

Computers & Security, Vol. 45, p. 274-283, 2014

19 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2017

See all articles by Mario Silic

Mario Silic

University of St Gallen

Andrea Back

University of St. Gallen

Date Written: 2014


Shadow IT is a currently misunderstood and relatively unexplored phenomena. It represents all hardware, software, or any other solutions used by employees inside of the organisational ecosystem which have not received any formal IT department approval. But how much do we know about this phenomenon? What is behind the curtain? Is security in organisations jeopardised? In the research study reported here, we conducted an in-depth analysis of the organisational Shadow IT software database, reporting the view from behind the curtain. The study used triangulation approach to investigate the Shadow IT phenomena and its findings open Pandora’s Box as they lay a new picture of what Shadow IT looks like from the software perspective. Our study revealed that greynet, content apps, and utility tools are the most used shadow systems. This study offers important insights on the Shadow IT phenomena for information management professionals and provides new research directions for academia.

Keywords: Shadow IT, Software, Organisational IT, Shadow Systems, Information Security

Suggested Citation

Silic, Mario and Back, Andrea, Shadow it – A View from Behind the Curtain (2014). Computers & Security, Vol. 45, p. 274-283, 2014. Available at SSRN:

Mario Silic (Contact Author)

University of St Gallen ( email )

No Address Available

Andrea Back

University of St. Gallen ( email )

Dufourstrasse 50
St.Gallen, CH-9000

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