Moving to cloud offers many benefits to organizations. However, these benefits come with a corresponding range of new challenges for IT to address. One of these challenges is what is known as “Shadow IT.” Shadow IT refers to activities of members within an organization to secure their own IT resources without going through a company’s IT department.
There are many compelling reasons why organizations consider Shadow IT an important issue:
Security: IT resources outside the management of a company’s IT department are also outside of their control and policy management. Many cloud providers offer only marginal security with their baseline service; to get better security requires an upsell and higher cost. This means that sensitive company data and digital assets may be exposed without a company’s knowledge. As a result, a company may be at risk in many ways, either through potential loss of customer data or failure to comply with industry standards and requirements.
Cost: When cloud services are purchased individually, they cost more. A large organization can consolidate cloud resources needs across all of its departments to achieve volume-pricing discounts.
Efficiency: A group that purchases its own cloud resources may underutilize them. When clouds resources are managed by IT, unutilized resources can be shared with other departments. Such a strategy increases the efficient usage of cloud resources. In addition, fewer resources are required across the company, resulting in lower cost as well.
Unified Management: When cloud resources can be centrally managed, their management can be consistent and unified across the company. This enables IT to ensure that cloud resources are properly protected as well as simplifies tracking allocation and usage of resources.
There is a high value in eliminating Shadow IT. However, it is clear that relying upon policies that prohibit Shadow IT activities is not enough to solve the problem. In the blog, “Overcome Your Shadow IT Struggles”, cloud provider Presidio discusses the reasons why Shadow IT exists. The blog also describes how you can provide compelling reasons for members of your organization to go through IT and use internal resources.
Another important facet of eliminating Shadow IT is selecting the right cloud services and provider. It does little good to consolidate cloud access if the services IT brokers to the organization don’t provide enterprise-class security, performance, and flexibility as a baseline.