Shadow IT is here to stay! By enabling capabilities that make it easier for employees to do their jobs better, shadow IT has cemented its place in organizations. IT has a choice. It can embrace it and effectively manage the shadow IT initiatives to ensure that company policies are being complied with. Or it can reject it, and run the risk of being branded as an impediment to success and continue fighting a battle IT cannot win. The following are five tips for managing shadow IT in the enterprise, identified by Chris Smith, CMO, Zenoss.
Click through for five tips for managing shadow IT in the enterprise, as identified by Chris Smith, CMO, Zenoss.
Identify and control
The first step in overcoming shadow IT is to identify it. Without insight into what tools users are purchasing and using at work, it’s impossible to know how to manage them. The second is controlling it. This may be accomplished through a combination of whitelists, whereby unauthorized applications cannot be run on company-issued IT assets, and notification tools that alert IT if someone does attempt to run an unauthorized app.
Meet the needs of the business unit
In order to accommodate the needs of the business unit (BU), IT can create and share a list of approved software and applications beyond the standard issue software. These can include “instead of xxx, use xxx” options and will serve as a cheat sheet for business units making their own purchase decisions. Following the list, the BU can comfortably make a decision and IT is assured that its introduction does not cause security risks or compatibility issues.
Actively communicate your policies, especially those for business continuity, disaster recovery and data security, so that business units (BU) choosing to rely on outside providers for their services can negotiate SLAs that meet or exceed the internal availability and performance expectations. Create templates so that the BU decision makers are asking the right questions such as: “In the event of a failure of the SaaS app or hosted technology, is the data backed up? Can the data and business workflow be recovered somewhere else?”
Do not work in a silo
Creating policies in a vacuum makes it nearly impossible for system administrators to properly manage the performance and resource issues of day-to-day operations, let alone shadow IT. By implementing a strategy across the entire organization, you empower employees to come out of the shadows, and to report issues subsequent of shadow IT, such as a network slowdown, and alert IT.
Deploy tools that enable you to monitor services running outside your physical environment, and encourage your business unit IT professionals to use these tools. By unifying your solutions, you not only simplify the management of your infrastructure, you achieve greater insight into how your resources are being used to ultimately reduce degradations and disruptions.
With a little insight and open communication, IT can help enable users while mitigating the risks often associated with third-party apps and services in the workplace. IT needs to bring users out of the shadows without affecting their productivity.