Shadow IT and Wireless Printing

Wikipedia defines Shadow IT as: “Shadow IT, also known as Stealth IT or Client IT, are Information Technology (IT) systems built and used within organizations without explicit organizational approval, for example, systems specified and deployed by departments other than the IT department.”  Unfortunately, I need to expand this definition to include IT that is implemented by a company that does not understand the features and capability of systems they are deploying.

Besides Shadow IT representing a huge data risk, it can often create an intermittent and unstable network environment.  We are starting to find more and more Shadow IT showing up in small environments (typically the issue is with our time and material clients).  On several service calls for wireless and printer issues, we have found an overuse of wireless printers and wireless access points installed that management didn’t know about.

Wireless printers are ok for home use and very limited business use, because they produce something I call “wireless pollution”.  The more printers you add, the greater the pollution index is.  The printing environment is even more exacerbated when all the printers have the same default wireless channel.  In simple terms, the wireless printers are jamming each other and, in some cases, jamming the entire wireless environment.

The other disturbing thing we are finding is small, consumer grade wireless access points being deployed, allegedly to solve a problem.  But shadow IT can often turn a small issue into a big network issue.  And Shadow IT often introduces additional vulnerabilities that make it much easier to attack the network.

TIP:  If you are having wireless issues and have an android device, there is a free app called “Wi-Fi analyzer”.  Wi-Fi analyzer can give you a visual spectrum of your wireless environment.  It can quickly help you see if you have devices interfering with each other.  Because of Apple’s lock down on their hardware, there is no equivalent application for iOS.

If you would like more information, contact us here or call 937.885.7272.

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Posted by Jack Gerbs