In part 3 of this series, we looked at some of the key differences between the features and priorities of Consumer and Enterprise driven IT. The rapid development of Consumer oriented technology over the past decade has radically changed the experience and expectations of the average user of technology.
This transformation poses a significant challenge to the Enterprise, which has traditionally maintained a high degree of control over the technology used by Enterprise staff. The symptoms and manifestations of this conflict can be found throughout the world of IT today…
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Bring Your Own App (BYOA) have, in many ways, become the critical challenge for the traditional, Enterprise IT Department.
According to surveys curated by CIO magazine in Jan 2013, 80% of employees bring their own devices and/or use their own app, while only 46% of organizations have a formal BYOD/BYOA policy. That is a problem, because simply saying “No”, or putting your head in the sand is only going to lead to “Shadow” or “Rogue” IT.
What is “Shadow IT”? From the perspective of the IT Department, it is an IT system that exists outside of its purview and therefore represents a threat to the security and integrity of organizational information.
From the perspective of the rest of the staff, it means that the IT department is not providing the tools needed to get the job done, and is not interested in learning more about what tools staff are using to do their jobs.
Even the language the Industry uses to describe this phenomenon is confrontational. Instead of calling it Shadow IT, and treating it like a virus or subversive threat that needs to be stamped out, IT departments should be asking the question, “What is this ‘rogue’ system providing you with that our IT systems aren’t providing?”
Risk and Opportunity
The ‘problems’ of BYOD & BYOA are actually great opportunities to have that conversation. I don’t mean to downplay the very real risks that now face organizations. Quite the contrary, I believe IT Departments must get ahead of the problem in a positive way.
Because if they don’t, they are going to be facing serious risks such as data leakage (the loss of critical data assets and confidential information).
Dell Software to BYOD, “Meh…”
In a recent interview with CIO magazine Dell Software CIO Carol Fawcett says they are looking at the various options for working within this new “BYOD” world order. They have stopped focusing on devices and are instead focusing on the data itself, and have identified the top risk as data leakage.
“We don’t really have a BYOD program. What we’ve really got is just the enabling of end users to access applications and data on whatever devices and within certain security boundaries,” Fawcett says.
Can we talk?
The IT Function of any organization can no longer pretend like this is not an issue. And simply telling your staff to use an antiquated VPN connection to a mapped drive on a Windows file server is not going to work…not when there are other options that are so easy to use.
If you don’t get ahead of this conversation, it is going to get ahead of you. It probably already has.
You can try to block “shadow IT”, of course, but why would you want to stop your staff from using a tool that is making it easier for them to do their job better???
The confrontational, oppositional IT department is an endangered species.
The game has changed.
In our next post we will look at some software developers that are engaging this challenge head-on.