Why ‘Shadow IT’ Is Still Thriving
One of the web definitions of Shadow IT describes it as IT systems or IT solutions built and used inside companies without organizational approval.
What it precisely suggests is that IT implementation in a company is not the sole prerogative of the IT managers. According to Gartner, by 2015, over 35 percent of IT expenditures for most organizations will be managed outside of the IT department’s budget.
What is driving that growth is the rise in adoption of Cloud-based services, SaaS applications and social media.
For a business to be competitive, it needs to ensure employees’ seamless access to IT infrastructure and data, which is considered an essential part of innovation. A healthy competitive environment is generally built in collaboration with resources – inside and outside, and integration of different services.
“Shadow IT is an opportunity to become closer to our business and to build a culture of collaboration,” said Steve Comstock, CIO for CBS Interactive, the online division for CBS television network.
After analyzing the increasing trends of Shadow IT, Gartner stated that it is often created by CIOs who lack the necessary IT budget or resources to participate in new business technology initiatives, according to Gartner.
Gartner also has a solution. It says IT asset managers can help their CIO select digital business initiatives that will attract enough funding to cover their full contract or asset life cycle costs.
Unlike in the 1990s when companies didn’t have to worry much about data storage and allowed sharing of music and Excel sheets, without even a back-up, today data explosion has set a new rule. Storing data in the Cloud has become mandatory though it has its own ramifications.
In a study, Skyhigh Networks identified 3,816 unique cloud services in use, an average of 738 per organization. The majority of these services lacked basic security features.
As Shadow IT refers to processes that are carried without the knowledge of the people in-charge, it is a violation of regulations, but not taken too seriously by many IT managers. Drastic measures like total curb may not be helpful. For example: If a company blocks apps or doesn’t approve of BYOD, employees will anyway find alternatives, thereby posing a security challenge.
A Frost & Sullivan report stated that one of the reasons for vulnerabilities is that 80 pc of respondents admitted to using Software as a Service (SaaS) applications that were not approved by their IT department. And 18 percent admitted to having experienced a security issue while using SaaS software, but they believe it’s just quicker to operate this way.
Analysts say that the best way to handle this situation would be have a security policy in place rather than exercising total control or restricting on use of technology.
McAfee suggests that organizations lack commitment to building a safe technology eco-system. “Do you have a clear, well-communicated policy regarding SaaS usage. If you don’t have a SaaS policy, you can’t blame employees for taking a long lead. If you’re not communicating your SaaS policies clearly and consistently, then you can’t expect your employees to take them seriously, much less take pains to follow them.”
It’s time companies gear up to prove Gartner’s study about IT expenditures outside IT department wrong.
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