An Open Letter to IT Departments:
I have a confession to make: in the past*, I’ve procured cloud services without your approval. I’ve used the cloud for file sharing, storage, project management and collaboration services and, at any given moment, I had at least four active subscriptions to cloud services that I used for business purposes. More often than not, you didn’t even know about any of them.
Was I purposely circumventing you as a peculiar act of defiance or intentionally compromising enterprise security? Of course not. I was just trying to get my job done as efficiently as possible. With tight deadlines, high project volume and lofty campaign goals, I needed the agility that the cloud provides. To be honest, I didn’t have the time to create a business case for these services and wait for your approval – especially when you’re so busy running day-to-day infrastructure operations and handling high-priority requests from other areas of the business.
I was unknowingly a part of the phenomenon known as Shadow IT – using hardware or software not supported by an organization’s IT department. And I’m not alone; Gartner predicts that 35% of enterprise IT expenditures will happen outside of the corporate IT budget by 2015 and the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO by 2017.
At this point, you may be wondering what prompted me to confess these transgressions (on my current employer’s website, no less). On our recent webinar Hybridization: Shattering Silos Between Cloud and Colocation, my colleague Adam Weissmuller spoke about Shadow IT and how cloud’s accessibility and immediacy to the end user can often come at the expense of IT security and control. So, beyond letting you know that (a) the concept of Shadow IT is real, (b) it’s likely happening in your organization more than you realize and (c) I’m sorry for putting your control measures and security at risk, I wanted to share with you Adam’s suggestion for bringing Shadow IT back into the fold.
After identifying Marketing as one of the most notorious Shadow IT offenders, Adam illustrated how a cloud and colocation hybridized environment could enable quick, on-demand provisioning of additional server capacity for an upcoming marketing campaign. This type of infrastructure would enable IT to provide assets on demand, without capital outlay, and under its controls, while marketing can run their campaign on time without compromising enterprise security. You can listen to the full webinar recording here for more details, as well as other hybridization use cases: Hybridization: Shattering Silos Between Cloud and Colocation.
Thanks for reading and letting me shine the light on Shadow IT.
*Note that I have never and will never engage in such reckless behavior at Internap.