Can unified communications rescue organisations from shadow IT?

At first glance, BYOD is an innovative and simple solution to common business communication obstacles, helping raise productivity and efficiency. But when the devices are unauthorised, shadow IT, as the name implies, keeps IT departments completely in the dark, causing real problems.

First there's the cost. A recent global study found that CIOs are spending around a quarter of their annual budget dealing with shadow IT – 76% reported unauthorised network access within their businesses.

Then there is the issue of security. Nearly three-quarters of the CIOs surveyed admitted they were more concerned with security because of the rise of shadow IT.

>See also: The dangers of shadow IT

It becomes extremely difficult for IT departments to oversee every application that is being used with some departments implementing their own IM or DropBox solutions, and staff bypassing company firewalls with unauthorised devices.

This compromises compliance and means more time and effort is spent focusing on IT security. Network speeds are also being affected with unauthorised and unplanned traffic from the use of personal devices and applications.

A complete ban on shadow IT looks like the easy way out, but it may not be the solution to the problem. By blocking these unauthorised devices and applications, companies actually risk affecting productivity rates, employee IT user experience and poor customer service responsiveness because of the perceived high utility enabled through using these devices and services.

Throwing a blanket ban over BYOD could destroy trust and creativity with employees who are simply using the best devices and applications to do their job in the most effective way.

IT departments should focus on the results and employee needs rather than the rules and use the tools that new developments in unified communications (UC) and cloud bring to embrace this challenge.

Lighting up the shadows

UC seems to hold all the trump cards. CIOs certainly seem to think so, with 72% in the global research naming it as the technology to deliver results while allowing user creativity, engagement and responsiveness.

With UC the user experience is finally being prioritised with UC solutions, which provide employees with an enterprise-grade equivalent to replace a disconnected and unsecure group of applications.

An integrated user interface offers consistent user experience, security and quality of service across multiple devices, ensuring visibility and control for the IT department.

>See also: How businesses can overcome the risks of shadow IT

Shadow IT witch-hunts can become a distant memory as application functionality can be supported across all channels voice, IM, social media, video – and critically across any device from any location. Solutions provide deployment choice, agility and scalability, IT departments can foresee problems impacting the user experience in advance, and react quickly in the required manner.

UC as a technology puts the IT department firmly back in the driving seat with rounded network visibility that turns previously feared shadow IT challenges into catalysts for efficiency and success – mitigating the threat to security and budgets.


Sourced from Manish Sablok, ALE

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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