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Is shadow engineering developing your applications?

Synopsys Editorial Team

Jan 19, 2018 / 1 min read

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Do you allow a supplier’s goods and services to be acquired and used by your employees without the approval of your management? Certainly not any more. You’ve probably spent years applying better governance around the acquisitions made by Shadow IT.

However, even before the emergence of shadow IT, your engineers have been making acquisitions from ungoverned suppliers: open source software authors.

What's Shadow Engineering?

Shadow IT mostly acquires compute and storage resources for internal use, but “shadow engineering” has been exposing your customers to ungoverned intellectual property by using open source software in your products.

Even though there are no subscription, licensing, or maintenance fees charged by these authors, their effects on your products are significant.

Just as shadow IT has helped organizations be more efficient and elastic, shadow engineering has done the same, but you must better govern what shadow engineering is acquiring.

The original version of this post was published on the Stairstep Consulting blog.


David Znidarsic is the founder and president of Stairstep Consulting, where he provides intellectual property consultation services ranging from IP forensics, M&A diligence, information security management, open source usage management, and license management. Learn more about David and Stairstep Consulting at

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