Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017
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Executive Viewpoint 2017 Prediction: Metalogix – The Year Shadow IT Comes into the Light

The advancement of consumer cloud apps into the content management space has enabled business users to implement, sometimes purchasing, solutions outside of IT’s projects and budget. This practice, called shadow IT, makes sense with the rapid evolution of these easy to use, convenient file sharing and social media tools. However, this process has also put organizations at risk, with uncontrolled access to organizations’ intellectual property or sensitive content.

Fortunately, I believe that 2017 will mark a turning point when business purchases for collaboration solutions outside of IT will become a thing of the past. This is because IT is moving into a service support role, evolving in the direction that people are now working while doubling down on security and the risks that content collaboration and these content collaboration bring to the organization.

Today’s professionals work and share data much differently than they did in the past. No matter what your industry is, content moves constantly between employees, departments, platforms, and a huge range of devices and applications. Clearly, the digital world is no longer uniform, which makes the idea of attempting to standardize content management or cloud collaboration onto a single platform somewhat obsolete. So it becomes the job of IT administrators to manage and monitor disparate platforms.

Successful IT departments understand that organizations already have—and should continue to access—multiple solutions if that’s what helps drive productivity and profits. These various solutions include public cloud services like Dropbox, Box, Slack, Google for Work and Salesforce. While the public cloud was once disparaged by IT, administrators have started to recognize and embrace the new reality that public cloud provides numerous benefits for users and organizations alike. In fact, in this new era of collaboration, it no longer makes sound business sense to try to keep every kind of data in-house anymore.

So how can IT handle this new reality, if there is no one point of content management control coming from inside the organization? Employees need the ability to work, collaborate, share information and communicate from anywhere using different platforms or devices than their colleagues. With end users honing in on the relative freedom of cloud solutions to help them do their work—solutions that are not sanctioned by IT and lacking internal and external compliance rules—how can administrators protect a company’s sensitive content? In the past, there hasn’t been a good answer to this question, particularly in light of the public cloud’s notorious lack of security and possibility to be compromised by cybercriminals.

Yet now there is a new type of solution that allows employees to enjoy the convenience of cloud collaboration at the same time that IT administrators can manage and monitor the diversity of cloud collaboration platforms via a single point of control. It works via a comprehensive set of cloud applications that facilitate content lifecycle management for data that’s both shared and stored across a wide range of cloud platforms.

Here is a preview of some benefits that this new form of controlled cloud collaboration will bring about in 2017, as shadow IT continues its metamorphosis:

  • Content protection. With controlled cloud collaboration, IT can now rely on one interface to easily visualize their entire extended collaboration universe. They can thus protect and manage sensitive content by moving it as needed, securing it appropriately and provisioning end user access.
  • Continuous monitoring. This new type of solution keeps an eye out for unauthorized users by performing ongoing scans for suspicious placement of content. Regardless of the data’s location in the cloud, controlled cloud collaboration can effectively back up and archive the content.
  • Simplified permissions management. To protect data, administrators need an easy way to manage permissions. Controlled cloud collaboration takes care of this through a single interface for any cloud collaboration platform, which handles permissions as well as auditing/reporting, cloud service management and content classification.
  • Any-to-any migration. Administrators will enjoy more consistency and compliance (as well as security) through a single interface based in the cloud, allowing for migration of content from any file share solution onto any platform that the administrator chooses. Controlled cloud collaboration additionally allows for synchronization and content replication.

What won’t change in 2017 is that employees will continue to need (and insist upon) having the flexibility to use multiple platforms depending on their immediate needs for content collaboration. To meet these need while protecting their organization’s data, administrators will turn toward the consolidated solution of controlled cloud collaboration this year and beyond for managing their entire portfolio of collaboration content—without keeping IT in the shadows of the cloud.