Seeing Shadows

Solutions Creating Problems

My accountant sent me a PDF recently.

I was wrapping up my taxes and something important required my signature.

I remember being particularly busy that day … and looking for a quick solution, found some free software online that lets you easily edit and e-sign PDFs.

It was just the fix I needed (at least for that moment).

A few days later I asked a colleague for a document I needed to assist me with a project. He sent it immediately and when I opened it, I saw a blank document, no images, no words, nothing. I hit Reply, just as the second calendar bell alarm distracted me.

Two days passed. I emailed my colleague to ask about the document, and received his “Out of Office” auto-response. Another day went by before I realized my quick-fix PDF whiz had overridden the licensed PDF reader my company supports.

I re-opened the document with the program I should’ve been using, relieved and annoyed at the same time.

Shadow IT: The Growing Concern

In the grand scheme of things, my PDF snafu wasn’t a huge deal. I’m one person and the project wasn’t mission critical.

But imagine a similar scenario playing out at a company of 10,000 employees … 100,000 employees.
Now, imagine the company is global and the stakes are higher with investors, customers and deadlines.

Security, cost, intellectual property, time. Shadow IT can really hinder an organization, if ignored.

Even if you aren’t familiar with the phrase Shadow IT, chances are you’re familiar with the practice. The web is overridden with apps that help us store files, analyze data and collaborate with others, and the stats are pretty eye-opening:

  • 80 percent of workers admit to using SaaS cloud apps at work, many times without IT authorization.1
  • The average global enterprise uses over 1,100 cloud applications.2
  • Only 8 percent of organizations know the full scope of Shadow IT within their environment.3

Shadow IT is technology’s Inconvenient Truth, and it’ll likely get worse before it gets better.

It’s Your Move, IT

There’s a huge irony happening in executive suites, conference rooms and cube farms across the globe. If today’s workers have more tools at their disposal than ever before, why are we still running into problems with day-to-day tasks?

It starts with visibility and a vision. You can’t measure what you can’t see. And IT departments are shining the spotlight on Shadow IT in 2016. Organizations are putting more rigor on Cloud Security Councils and understanding what employees truly need to help them succeed at work.

Vision is necessary. One thing that makes Shadow IT so difficult is that it directly affects the biggest concerns for IT organizations (cloud initiatives, security, compliance, to name a few).

Shadow IT is here to stay. It’s not going anywhere and forward-thinking organizations have to be smart about balancing employee needs and keeping IT environments safe and secure.

Learn more about Shadow IT and collaboration overload in “The Top 5 Collaboration Challenges … and How IT Leaders Can Overcome Them.”

1. Skyhigh Networks, Rethink Cloud Study
2. Cloud Adoption & Risk Report in North America & Europe – 2014 Trends, Cipher Cloud
3. Cloud Security Alliance Survey, 2015

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