I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me.
I don’t know how many of you actually remember or have ever even heard the nursery rhyme. Probably showing my age, or the ability to remember useless snippets. To business. I have been reading for the past few months on the growing problem of business users loading the applications they use, or accessing their personal applications at work. For the user, maybe that is fine, for enterprise security and administration it is a growing problem. I finally read an article that named this phenomenon – ‘Shadow IT’. Rather catchy for an IT term.
“Shadow IT is the result of enterprise IT not being able to deliver business users with the services and apps they need in order to achieve a maximum degree of productivity,” said Torsten Volk, VP of product management – cloud at ASG Software Solutions. “If they cannot get what they need from the corporate IT department, business users simply swipe their own credit cards and obtain the needed IT resources elsewhere.”
Skyhigh Networks concluded from their survey, ‘Cloud Adoption, Practices and Priorities Survey Report, that Shadow IT is 10 times worse than most IT departments suspect, with 72% saying they have no idea how big a problem it is.
The Netskope Cloud Report found 90% of cloud apps in use at businesses aren’t enterprise grade. Astoundingly the research also found that the average organization has more than 600 cloud applications in use – which IT may, or may not, know about.
And the risks are real. “Fragmented data living outside the company network not only hinders business management, but is subject to staggering compliance and security risks,” said Orlando Scott-Cowley, director of technology marketing at Mimecast. “For example, running searches for files that are needed for e-discovery can become a challenge, especially if end users won’t cooperate.”
How does an organization tackle the problem, when for the most part, they are looking for needles in a haystack? Software such as ours can identify all content as it is ingested or created, create semantic metadata, and auto-classify content to a taxonomy. These types of tools are hugely helpful, specifically when you don’t know what you are looking for. Other applications include the identification of privacy or confidential information that is found within content. Using workflow, it can be routed to a secure repository and prevent portability. I would highly recommend investigating solutions that can address this problem. It’s only going to get worse.