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    Categories Networking Technology

Stop Fighting Shadow IT

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In just the past ten or so years, consumer devices have swamped enterprises. Along with those devices have come apps and services and the expectation of ease and convenience from technology. The consumerization of IT is more than just the need to support and monitor personal devices on the enterprise network. It’s a mindset shift among your employees that’s silently impacted the IT department.

Employees expect the freedom to find their own solutions to problems in the workplace, so they hear about a new cloud service and they quickly sign up online. This is how we end up with shadow IT, and it’s a growing problem for enterprise CIOs.

You need to find a way to accommodate shadow IT rather than wasting time trying to eliminate it, especially as remote offices add to the application sprawl challenge.

The Growing Inevitability of Shadow IT

If you think your enterprise is immune to shadow IT because you have explicit policies in place against individual cloud services procurement, think again. Employees will do just about anything to avoid using clunky legacy systems that hinder their productivity.

You might be able to keep an eye on application sprawl at a smaller organization if everything is centrally located, but when you’re a massive enterprise with many remote offices, it can seem nearly impossible.

But don’t get sucked into thinking that the dangers of shadow IT are overblown. Multiple studies show that the problems are real and they’re on the rise:

  • Shadow IT Is Bigger than Expected: IT departments estimate they run an average of 51 cloud services throughout their organizations. The reality is that more than 700 cloud services, on average, are used in an enterprise setting.
  • The Hidden Costs of Shadow IT: The unexpected use of cloud services result in hidden costs that can be four to eight times higher than budgeted. One of the key contributors to these hidden costs is operation and integration.
  • Shadow IT and Application Sprawl Will Increase: Over 80% of CIOs believe employees will continue to procure cloud services without engaging with IT. Compound this with an increasingly globalized enterprise and you have a massive application sprawl challenge on your hands.

One key problem with application sprawl is that there are cloud services throughout your organization that are eating network resources without your knowledge. When these unauthorized apps experience downtime or delays, employees will come to you to point the finger.

Don’t spend your days reacting to these instances of downtime. Combat shadow IT with proactive application monitoring.

Pulling Cloud Services Out of the Shadows for Proactive Monitoring and Alerting

It might seem unfair for IT to be blamed for issues with unauthorized cloud services, but that’s the way of the enterprise world right now. You need to make sure you’re maintaining workforce productivity and you can’t do that when you’re running from fire to fire dealing with unexpected downtime.

This is why we have to start embracing shadow IT. Come to terms with the fact that individuals will continue to procure cloud services. Then you can start finding ways to proactively identify and monitor cloud app performance throughout the distributed enterprise.

Gaining visibility into all cloud services throughout your network is just the first step to guaranteeing a strong end user experience and greater workforce productivity. If you want to learn more about maximizing end-user experience for all cloud services, download our free white paper, 14 Metrics to Optimize End User Experience.

Joe Michalowski: Joe Michalowski has experience writing for executive-level audiences on topics such as cloud computing, network visibility, cybersecurity, telecommunications, digital transformation, and more. He's based outside of Boston and writes for AppNeta about IT infrastructure.

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