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Shadow AI

Tackling the Rise of Shadow AI in Modern Enterprises

Understanding the Shadow AI Phenomenon 

Shadow IT has been a persistent challenge for CIOs and CISOs. This term refers to technology utilized within an organization without the explicit approval of the IT or security departments. Recent data from Gartner indicates that in 2022, a staggering 41% of employees engaged in the acquisition, modification, or creation of technology outside the purview of IT. Projections suggest this figure could soar to 75% by 2027. The primary concern with shadow IT is straightforward: it’s nearly impossible to safeguard what remains unknown. 

In a parallel development, the AI landscape is witnessing a similar trend. Tools like ChatGPT and Google Gemini are becoming popular among employees for task execution. While innovation and adaptability are commendable, the unchecked use of these tools, without the knowledge of IT or security departments, poses significant information and compliance risks. 

Why Employees Gravitate Towards AI Tools 

Generative AI, machine learning, and expansive language models have transformed the way we work. These technologies offer: 

  • Enhanced Process Efficiencies: AI can automate repetitive tasks, streamline workflows, and reduce time to delivery. 
  • Boosted Personal Productivity: With AI’s assistance, employees can focus on more strategic tasks, fostering creativity and innovation. 
  • Improved Customer Engagement: AI-driven tools can personalize customer experiences, predict trends, and enhance overall satisfaction. 

Balancing Innovation with Security 

The challenge for organizational leaders is twofold: ensuring that employees can harness their preferred AI tools while simultaneously mitigating potential security threats. Here are some strategies: 

  1. Establish Policy
  • Identify Regulations: Many companies are subject to consumer privacy laws, determine what is permitted based on the client’s or customer’s location. 
  • Catalog Contracts: Often our clients have requirements in contracts that dictate how we can, or cannot, use AI in how data is processed. 
  1. Educate and Train
  • Awareness Campaigns: Launch initiatives to educate employees about the potential risks associated with unsanctioned AI tools and encourage collaboration on approved usage. 
  • Training Programs: Offer regular training sessions on the safe and responsible use of AI, including what types of data are permitted. 
  1. Implement Robust Security Protocols
  • Regular Audits: Conduct frequent IT audits to detect and address unauthorized AI tool usage. 
  • Advanced Threat Detection: Employ sophisticated AI-driven security solutions to identify and counteract potential threats. 
  1. 4. Promote Approved AI Tools
  • Internal AI Toolkits: Create a suite of organization-approved AI tools that employees can safely use. 
  • Feedback Mechanisms: Establish channels for employees to suggest new tools, fostering a culture of collaboration and trust. 

The Way Forward 

While the allure of AI is undeniable, it’s crucial for organizations to strike a balance between innovation and security. By understanding the motivations behind shadow AI, enterprises can create an environment where technology augments human capabilities without compromising safety. 


The rise of shadow AI underscores the rapid evolution of technology in the workplace. By adopting a proactive approach, organizations can harness the power of AI while ensuring a secure and productive environment for all. 

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