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Shadow IT is a fact of enterprise life

July 09, 2015

Shadow IT is a term often used to describe IT systems and solutions that are built and/or used inside organizations without explicit approval from the IT department.

Shadow IT is a term often used to describe IT systems and solutions that are built and/or used inside organizations without explicit approval from the IT department—a phenomenon made easier thanks to the widespread popularity of cloud computing. The cloud makes it easy for non-technical employees to procure, implement and manage new technology—so easy that nearly 30 percent of those surveyed admit to doing so.

Readily available consumer cloud apps help employees work around IT-enforced policies for things like storage, collaboration and project management. Used improperly, these technologies can put an organization at risk; not just from a security perspective, but from a bandwidth perspective as well. When IT determines network capacity needs for the enterprise, they factor in known requirements to ensure optimal network performance. Unpredictable network traffic from video and BYOD policies already has IT scrambling and employee use of unsanctioned cloud solutions compounds the problem.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the development and availability of easy-to-use and -procure cloud business applications shows no signs of abating. In fact, when a tool is useful both inside and outside of the workplace, many vendors target consumers in an attempt to get that service into the workplace. Rather than fighting it, some savvy organizations are looking for ways to embrace and manage Shadow IT. Industry analyst firm Gartner, Inc. says that by acknowledging that Shadow IT is happening, and setting up boundaries so adoption abides by compliance, regulatory and security rules, IT can leverage the self-service movement to foster an environment of agility and innovation for competitive advantage.

Whatever stage your organization is in regarding the acceptance of Shadow IT, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got enough bandwidth to support those apps that have been sanctioned, and those that haven’t. In today’s business environment, there is no room for application performance problems resulting from unpredictable throughput and latency.

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