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Shadow It: A Growing Problem

By Expert Author: skyhighnetworks

Years ago, shadow IT was limited to unapproved Excel VBA macros and the kind of consumer software you bought in a box from an office supply store. It has grown exponentially in recent years, with advisory firm CEB estimating that 40% of all IT spending at a company occurs outside the IT department. This rapid growth is partly driven by the quality of consumer applications in the cloud such as file sharing apps, social media, and collaboration tools, but it’s also increasingly driven by lines of business deploying enterprise-class SaaS applications. The reason for this rapid expansion is that these apps help make employees productive and grow the company.

Since Shadow IT isn’t provided by IT, it can also reduce the number of calls to the company IT support desk. However, while IT is no longer responsible for the physical infrastructure or even managing the application, they’re still on the hook for ensuring security and compliance for the corporate data employees upload to cloud services. This puts IT in the unpopular position of saying no to employees using cloud and mobile applications do their jobs, going as far as to block access to a cloud app using the company’s firewall or web proxy. However, for every app that’s blocked, an employee will go out there and find a lesser-known, potentially riskier services to use in its place.

Instead of seeing Shadow IT as a threat, leading CIOs are seeing it as an opportunity to leverage employees to identify the applications they want to use so that IT can enable the ones that have gained traction and are enterprise-ready.

When IT gains visibility intot he apps being used, they often find Shadow IT is 10 times more prevalent than they initially thought. The average organization today uses over 600 different cloud services, and it grows everyday. Often IT departments discover many services in use that they have never heard of before. After assessing the risk of each service and its security, IT teams can make informed choices about what services to promote or enable. This is more than just an exercise in risk management. The average company uses 30 different file sharing services, and using this many different services can impede collaboration between employees. Standardizing on enterprise licenses for 2-3 services not only improves collaboration, it also reduces cost.


Author :

Skyhigh Networks, the cloud access security company, enables companies to embrace Cloud Analytics Services with appropriate levels of security, compliance, and governance while lowering overall risk and cost. With customers in financial services, healthcare, high technology, media, manufacturing, and legal verticals, the company was a finalist for the RSA Conference 2013 Most Innovative Company award and was recently named a "Cool Vendor" by Gartner, Inc. Headquartered in Cupertino, Calif., Skyhigh Networks is led by an experienced team and is venture-backed by Greylock Partners and Sequoia Capital. For more information on Shadow IT to Visibility and Cloud Control, visit us at http://www.skyhighnetworks.com/shadow-it or follow us on Twitter@skyhighnetworks.

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