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Shadow IT: You Can’t Manage What You Can’t See

Shadow IT is nothing new as employees and lines of business bypass IT departments to get the cloud services they need to complete their jobs.   Rogue IT has resulted in a conversation around the unintended and potentially dangerous consequences of increased security risks, compliance concerns and hidden costs.

We all know that private and public clouds are here to stay, but in a recent study it was proven that the average enterprise organization is unaware of just how much shadow IT exists.

shadow-it-100467238-primary.idgeCisco recently completed a study with large enterprise customers across the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia.   This study was conducted from January 2014 through July of this year.  Actual usage data was collected from customer’s networks representing millions of users.

Ask your CIO today and they will probably respond that on average their organization is utilizing 51 cloud services.   Cisco’s survey indicates that in reality, over 730 cloud services are being used.

That is 15 times what was believed and the survey statistics provide a trend that by the end of the year that will increase to 20 times more than was authorized.   That’s more than 1,000 external cloud services per company.

To learn more about this study, read this thought leadership piece on

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Let’s Talk: Tackling the Shadow IT Tsunami @ #CIOsynergy San Francisco

Did you know it pays to optimize your cloud strategy? (Literally)

A recent IDC/Cisco report shows that key business indicators (top-line revenues, strategic IT budget allocations, greater IT asset flexibility) all increased with a better cloud strategy.

You see this in the results. On average, companies who optimized their cloud experienced:

  • 4% increase in revenue growth
  • 200% improvement in strategic allocation of IT budgets
  • 99% faster time to provision IT services
  • 77% IT cost reduction

On the flip side, the same report noted that only a whopping 75% of companies have only an opportunistic, ad-hoc, or no cloud strategy at all. None! So what are they waiting for?

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It’s Time to Tackle Your Shadow IT

Last week I was in London and Amsterdam, where I had a fantastic time meeting with customers and cloud partners.

During the conversations I had with customers and partners, shadow IT was continuously recognized as a challenge. However, most were not sure of how, or if, they should take actual action. Why? Some IT managers didn’t think it was their problem, but instead something procurement or the CISO should deal with. In addition, some just didn’t have the resources to address the challenge and discover what was truly going on in their organizations.

Surprising? Let’s dive a little deeper.


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Ostrich or Eagle: How CIOs Can Address the Shocking Reality of Shadow IT

Recently, I had a conversation with a CIO and her team. We were reviewing the extraordinary growth of unknown and known cloud services within organizations like hers. She turned to her team and asked “well what should we do?” Some of her leaders said: “we can’t control it, so why should we discover it?” Others pushed to learn more and help enable rather than inhibit cloud use. She absorbed this, and then simply said, “We either can be ostriches, burying our heads in the sand, or eagles. But we should keep in mind that eagles see what is coming.”

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What Are The Riskiest Cloud Services?

We’ve known for years that employees and lines of business are bypassing IT departments to get the cloud services they want. The good news is we can finally quantify how much shadow IT exists in an organization and identify any risks.

Large customers actually use 730 individual cloud services on average—with some using over 1,000. That’s 15-22 times more than what their IT departments estimate. We can help customers understand what (and how much) they are using, but even then, I get asked (a lot) – which ones are the riskiest?


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