Cloud computing has certainly created some big problems for companies. As GigaOM reported, “Guess what Mr. CIO, 1 in 5 of your employees uses Dropbox at work”.
Wait a second … this is news to most CIO’s?
The fact that ‘Shadow IT’ exists in organizations is no secret to most CIO’s. They know that employees have gone behind their backs and are using consumer cloud applications at work. In fact, According to Rackspace, 43% of IT Decision Makers are perfectly aware of Rogue IT¹, and other reports have shown that 60% of CIO’s have admitted that they are aware of employees moving confidential documents to personal Dropbox accounts.²
The dirty little secret is, CIO’s are perfectly aware that this is happening but are unable to prevent it effectively.
Just a year ago, one in five executives reported it’s impossible to manage all the disparate cloud services within their organization, while an additional 60 percent of executives are worried about unmanaged cloud sprawl.³
The real problem isn’t that CIO’s aren’t aware of Shadow IT, or that employees are using consumer cloud applications to get their job done. Actually, business executives should be excited that their workforce is being resourceful and finding ways to solve business problems and work more efficiently. After all, the alternative is a workforce that sits around waiting for someone else to get them what they need, pointing fingers and laying blame on why things are progressing so slowly, and stuff’s not getting done.
Corporate IT has been a laggard due to insecurities and concerns about the security risks of the cloud; meanwhile employees have been bypassing IT and using consumer / prosumer cloud applications to get stuff done. The real problem worth solving is at this intersection of the company’s need for security, and the employees’ needs for tools and applications that work the way they do.
There has certainly been enough debate and talk on this issue, but very little in terms of real solutions outside of putting the company on “lockdown”, enforcing stricter policies, and crossing fingers hoping employees adhere.
Sadly, even corporate policy doesn’t seem to be a deterrent for employees to “go rogue” and provision consumer cloud applications on the sly.
While nearly two-thirds of companies (60 percent)report they have corporate policies in place that prohibit such actions, respondents say there are no real deterrents for purchasing cloud services by stealth. In fact, 29 percent report there are no ramifications whatsoever and another 48 percent say it is little more than a warning.
So, what’s a CIO to do? What are the real solutions to this problem? How can Corporate IT enable employees to use the tools and applications they love without putting corporate IP, documents, and data at risk?
This is a problem we’re passionate about solving. While even we haven’t completely figured it all out, we’re certainly making some strides by first helping companies apply corporate policy to documents that are being passed through email, corporate systems, and consumer cloud applications. This allows companies to mitigate risk and stay compliant, and employees can use the tools and apps they love, and focus on more meaningful and productive work.
Click here to see how we’re working on solving this problem, and to try it out for yourself or your company, and please let us know in comments how you think this problem is best solved.
¹AllThingsD: “Using a Cloud Service at the Office Without Permission? You’re Not Alone.”
²Ponemon Institute: Confidential Documents at Risk Study
³Avanade Global Survey: Has Cloud Computing Matured?