The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has warned firms to keep a closer eye on the applications that staff are bringing into work to ensure they don't fall foul of license requirements.
The growth in staff bringing their own applications into work as part of a more general move for people to take in their personal devices has created a shadow IT world that many firms are not keeping on top of.
FAST quoted figures from a Frost & Sullivan report that estimated a growth in the use of SaaS applications by staff independently of the normal IT controls with as many as 80% of users admitting to using non approved applications.
The same study also found that 35% of SaaS applications were purchased without prior approval from the IT department, which could leave those responsible for checking licenses are in order exposed to risk.
“SaaS has brought previously unseen flexibility to businesses’ IT estates, we are seeing the emergence of so-called Shadow IT. This development in working practices can present huge challenges for organisations wishing to demonstrate that they are on the right side of the law when it comes to software licence compliance," said Alex Hilton, CEO of FAST.
“SAM poses a big enough challenge to the IT department at the best of times, but becomes infinitely more complex if other departments or even individuals take it upon themselves to procure their own software directly," he added.
Martin Prendergast, CEO and co-founder of Concorde Solutions, and chair of the license value management special interest group of the Cloud Industry Forum, said that as users moved away from more established enterprise software applications there were more chances of the IT department being bypassed by users.