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.