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Shadow IT: When They Come Back for Help, Don’t Gloat

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Cloud services have become such a transformative force for business that some departments are bypassing IT to get them quickly. Marketing, Sales and HR departments are active in funding cloud initiatives at more than 40% of organizations surveyed in the 2014 IDG Enterprise Cloud Computing study. Their incentive? They are simply trying to get their jobs done and stay competitive. And they figure that cutting out the middleman will speed things up. 

But the rise in “shadow IT” comes with some downsides. Rogue cloud procurement, for example, can result in poor application performance because of overlooked network issues. And it can of course create big security risks. Hidden costs, too. So department heads are likely to show up again at IT’s doorstep, asking for help. In fact, though 23% of cloud spending currently happens outside IT, according to the IDG survey, nearly half those projects come back around to the IT department. 

Shadow IT can speed innovation, however, especially when it fuels new ways of working. IT should find ways to embrace this innovation, maintain governance and compliance within the organization, rein in activity that affects app performance, productivity and security, and results in unnecessary cost.

For example, when cloud subscriptions add unforeseen traffic loads, WAN links might suddenly get clogged and degrade application performance. When users start complaining, who are they gonna call? Most likely, IT.

Instead of saying “I told you so,” IT can help resolve the issues by using application monitoring and measurement to discover the impact of the traffic loads on the network. Application recognition technology can identify what apps are actually running and network adjustments that need to be made to avoid traffic jams.

From a security perspective, IT is charged with protecting corporate data. When business users sidestep the processes and tools that allow IT to succeed in that role, it can be nearly impossible to monitor networks for risky apps and data violations. 80% of the IDG survey takers If have already created a governance policy for protecting data in the cloud. Have you? 

In terms of costs, IT plays an equally important role. Individual cloud subscriptions might be procured across multiple departments, resulting in higher overall costs than having one monthly enterprise license that’s been negotiated based on volume. If the bills get big enough, Finance will likely start questioning them and seek a way to streamline. That’s how the job arrives back in the IT department. 

Speed is the name of the game in an increasingly digital business world. IT needs the agility to deliver –while still controlling costs, reducing security exposures, and ensuring strong user application experiences.

Integrated collaboration suites provide departments with the tools they need, while combating shadow IT. They also help IT save time, money and sanity. Read this free eBook to learn more.

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