Combating Shadow IT with Cloud Solutions



When users install applications outside of their IT department’s approval, they create what is known as a “shadow IT.” This can be a headache for an IT department for many reasons, some more obvious than others. IT departments cannot offer support or troubleshooting help for applications used without their knowledge or approval. Shadow I can also lead to workflow inconsistencies if the new tool does not directly match the functionality of the application it is intended to replace.

More serious issues lie on a deeper level. If your organization deals with secure or confidential information, you have no guarantee that unauthorized applications will adhere to any required compliance standards. Sensitive files, for instance, could be transferred through insecure protocols or stored on non-private servers. Staff members using unauthorized software may not be aware of this increased risk of data vulnerability; as far as they know, they are just going about their day-to-day tasks.

Shadow IT programs tend to be popular, consumer-grade applications. Cyber attackers target these sorts of programs because they have such a broad audience; thus, any vulnerabilities that exist within them can quickly become a problem for your organization. In minor cases, these applications may expose your staff to targeted phishing attacks. In a more severe situation, an application’s vulnerability may be exploited to install ransomware in your shared cloud space, locking down your sensitive data through encryption until someone pays off the attacker.

The best way to prevent issues from arising is to avoid the feeling that Shadow IT is needed at all. Shadow IT typically begins when employees feel that setting up approved software is too inconvenient to wait for, which leads them to set up applications on their own. Deploying a good cloud solution can make the setup process much faster and much more painless, which makes employees less likely to grow impatient and install their own software.

One option to consider is using a Desktop-as-a-Service solution (DaaS), such as CloudHelm Stations, which allows you to quickly and easily set up a user’s workstation based on a preconfigured image, removing any excessive wait times. CloudHelm Stations also offers you a strong level of security, knowing that all application processes are taking place in a secure space on the cloud server.

If a DaaS solution is not right for you, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service solution such as CloudHelm IaaS can still offer you some helpful options to avoid shadow IT issues. You can quickly deploy applications and monitor security settings across the board for your users, helping you avoid any unintended data transfer issues from unauthorized applications. You can also stop outside programs from being installed altogether if that suits your needs best.

Shadow IT often begins with good intentions, but the issues and security risks it causes outweigh the user’s benefits. A cloud-based solution can already save you time in the long run by making application setup faster and easier. Reducing risks that go with Shadow IT is an important upside to consider.

The One Fundamental Difference between Public and Private Clouds


Have you ever asked a room full of technology professionals if they understand what the differences are between public and private clouds? You’ll be surprised to still find paralyzed faces slowly shaking their heads making sure that they avoid eye contact at all costs. So why after so long, can’t technology professionals confidently look you in the eye and answer this question?

As the cloud grows, the definition of the cloud is encompassing more services and technology than ever before. Tech Target simply defines cloud computing as, “a general term for the delivery of hosted services over the Internet.” The definition is completely on point, but when you have to explain cloud computing and more specifically private and public cloud computing to a business decision maker, that definition doesn’t provide much value.

And then there is Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS). Services such as IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are driving cloud consumption usage in different ways. Additionally, cloud service providers continue to expand niche services. According to the RightScale 2016 – State of the Cloud Report, Enterprises (businesses with 1000+ employees) are averaging 3 public and 3 private clouds at any time. This multi-cloud approach thus proves that now is more important than ever to get back to the basics of cloud hosting definitions.

Let’s review how to explain cloud basics so that you can successfully deliver a message to the business decision-makers in your organization by defining each:

  • Public Cloud – a service provider makes hosted services over the Internet available to the public.
  • Private Cloud – hosted services are created or provided by a third party (or internally) with dedicated, proprietary architecture for a single organization.
  • Hybrid Cloud – both public and private environments that are able to transfer data from one to the other, also called orchestration.


Cloud deployment models are only fundamentally different at the infrastructure level. 

Are you sharing server space with another organization? If you answered, “yes,” then you are using a public cloud service provider like AWS, Azure, Google Cloud or Rackspace. If you answered, “no,” then you are using a private cloud service. Private clouds might be hosted by servers operated and managed by your own team, in your own data center or by a third-party Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider that deploys IaaS at their own data center. Usually, IT professionals select a deployment model based off of the amount of security and control they either “feel” they need or they must have to comply with regulations.

We discussed public and private but how would you explain hybrid? Hybrid just means that a company has both environments private and public running and that specific data can transfer from a public environment to a private environment and vice versa. These workload migrations aren’t easily deployable yet and cloud service providers don’t make it easy to run multi-cloud environments with seamless workload migration. A number of consulting organizations were created to help migrate workloads within hybrid environments.

In 2016, you’ll see more Cloud Management Platforms that help facilitate multi-cloud workload migration services to make it easier for you to deploy and utilize public, private and hybrid clouds more efficiently than ever before. If you’re interested in getting a behind the scenes look into cloud services from the data center side – checkout this expert led cloud event in the Chicago area based on cloud computing.