Bring Shadow IT into the Light

According to recent research, many CIOs are struggling to control the rise of shadow IT within their organisation, with over two thirds of business decision makers now commissioning and sourcing IT products from outside the IT department.

This means the IT division can no longer regulate all IT solutions implemented within the organisation; they have little to no control. A shadow IT ecosystem has emerged where every single employee has the potential to act independently from the IT department, implementing cloud applications that may be convenient to them, but could pose a significant threat to their organisation’s information security and availability, potentially impacting its customers and in turn its revenue.

Shadow IT presents significant threats to enterprise information security and availability that can impact your customers, and in turn affect your revenue. In some cases, customers may leave if you have a sustained outage or loss of client data. Similarly, if end-users who’ve deployed their own cloud apps leave, taking passwords with them, the enterprise can become locked out of their account. If this were to happen, the loss of client data, or more importantly the loss of enterprise data presents a real risk to both reputation and security.

With this problem only set to get worse over the next two years, enterprises need to accept the fact that shadow IT is here to stay. Rather than the traditional combat approach of ‘shut it down’, CIOs should instead focus on future proofing their organisation by embracing shadow IT. Offering access to flexible, on-demand resources with a hybrid cloud portal gives employees the flexibility they desire, but in a structured and secure manner, providing CIOs with the opportunity to regain control over the entire IT environment.

Customers need to know where their data is being held and will expect the holder to be compliant with the appropriate data protection legislations. The unintentional exporting of data via unauthorised shadow IT applications can impact a provider’s reputation and credibility. By adopting a hybrid cloud infrastructure, enterprises can mitigate this risk by providing flexibility and options for each business unit to select a provider of choice – whether via public or private cloud – which can be managed centrally via a cloud management platform.

This provides more control, flexibility and assures data governance, whilst also being structured and secure. As enterprise IT evaluates the best technical approach for hybrid IT management, it’s vital that the speed, flexibility and agility drawing end users to public clouds is preserved in the hybrid model. The most successful models involve enterprise IT as a service provider for public cloud resources, delivering effective on boarding, training, management tools and guidance. If end users feel that these new IT processes are heavy-handed and restrictive, the IT department will be ignored or rejected altogether – driving shadow IT deeper underground.

There are hundreds of public clouds out there, with more coming every day. Most of them are not truly clouds, just a hosted service with “cloud” stamped on the website and no real changes to the offering. And the offerings that do have self-service are often klunky or ugly or both. Just because the user is IT, rather than a business unit, doesn’t mean that it’s ok to serve up the red-headed stepchild of technology.

As you might have already seen, Abiquo places a high value on both form and function. In fact, we strongly believe that it should look great AND work better than you could ever hope for. So when we see a customer apply our product and our philosophy to their own in a really sophisticated or interesting way, we think everyone should pay attention.

Claranet uses Abiquo for its Virtual Data Centre

Claranet’s recently announced Virtual Data Centre offering is the first integrated self-service cloud offering available to the European market. The offering combines self-service,  governance, resiliency, network integration, and migration in a single service. Claranet Virtual Data Centre customers manage their own resources and users through a simple, yet powerful, online interface.

To learn more about the Claranet cloud offering, visit:

To learn more about how Abiquo made Claranet’s offering possible, read more in this press release:




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Implementing a successful Enterprise Cloud requires that the needs of all stakeholders be balanced and in harmony. Without this balance, it simply doesn’t work, leading to failed projects – as a number of early cloud adopters have already discovered to their cost. Balance is not just about consultation, it’s about selecting technology that works to address the needs of each stakeholder. In my upcoming keynote, I will demonstrate that not only is balance possible, but that with it, the Enterprise Cloud actually becomes greater than the sum of its parts, truly achieving both the individual goals of each stakeholder, and the collective goal of the organization.

Read the whole story at — post a comment there, then join us at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley, Wednesday, Nov 9th at 1:30 for the General Session.   We will open the floor to answer questions and bring some followers on stage to join us for a community panel.  Tell your friends through twitter with #tightrope or #cloudexpo.


I recently came across an interesting article on InformationWeek by Rob Preston.  He covers the top 10 technology priorities for US CIOs.  A lot of the article was the usual buzzword bingo of “big data, consumerization of IT, and social media.” Of course cloud computing was mentioned, but interestingly enough he makes a point on #9 that it’s the “exploration of cloud computing” not the “embracing.”  Specifically he states, But rather than migrate whole hog to public cloud services, most U.S. companies are looking to build hybrid clouds, capitalizing on the flexibility of cloud architectures while keeping their most sensitive or critical workloads behind their own firewalls.”  We’ve heard many people talking about the idea of the “enterprise cloud restart.”  This concept is built from the premise that many enterprises have built “something” but it didn’t accomplish the goal, or worse yet, there was no specific goal.   So in additon to evaluating which type of cloud, many firms are also re-evaluating what cloud success looks like and what is realistic.

CIO Top Ten IT priorities

Technology Priorities for US CIOs


So you might be asking, what were the top 3 priorities? I think these points can be summarized as faster, cheaper, and easier.

  • #3: Stop spending 70-80% on maintenance
  • #2: Align IT and the business
  • #1: Make IT faster

First the scary part, just in time for Halloween.  Point #3 highlights that cost issues aren’t shifting out of IT, even with virtualization.  Specifically, Mr. Preston states, “As represented by our annual InformationWeek 500 ranking, even the most innovative IT users spend 63% of their IT budgets on ongoing operations as opposed to new initiatives–a percentage that has barely budged in a decade.” Considering how fast cloud computing and new application development is moving, it’s hard to believe this is still an issue.  When you compound the costs with the anticipated efficiencies hoped for from virtualization, we see both elements have remained relatively constant.  For example, customers that expected 70% server utilization are really only seeing 30%.

Points 1 and 2 are refreshing that they came up as points 1 and 2.  We all call this revolution “cloud computing,” but these two points get to the reality that we need efficiencies in IT, in real terms.  Specifically, by adding automation, governance, self service and management to many aspects, IT teams can have the agility they need, even on a large scale.  As stated in the article, “As the American Express CIO Toby Redshaw looks at the challenge in a positive light, stating in a recent presentation to the company’s board: “Small agile beats big slow–big agile beats everything.””  2012 needs to be the year that IT teams find a project (start small), set some goals on efficiency in order to best serve the business and start to test the waters.  Don’t try to boil the ocean, pick something to be successful with, learn from it and show success.