back to article You... (Sigh). You store our financials in a 'Clowds4U' account?

More than 80 per cent of employees use software that has not been signed off on for use by their employer, according to a new survey. Stratecast and Frost & Sullivan asked 300 IT staff and 300 "line of business" (LoB) employees at large companies that employ at least 1,000 people in the UK, North America, Australia and New …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ""IT and business leaders need to work together to create and support policies that enable employees to use the apps they need to be productive, with controls in place to protect data and minimise corporate risk,""

    What a beautiful fluffy fantasy world. One were management know what the are doing and not just implementing national guidelines, and provide you with the right tools without delay. Obviously not a description of any UK business I've work(ed) for.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      IT can be a pain in the arse too

      At the end of the day, people are going to do anything to make their jobs easier and unfortunately in a lot of companies, the IT department exists to make IT'S life easier and screw the consequences to the business.

      My housemate is a graphic designer who occasionally works from home, however the companies remote access solution is 100% tailored to Windows users not the Mac using graphics teams. This means that even though she has a company MacBook, the IT team know nothing about how Mac's work, even suggesting that the graphics designers use Mac Mini's rather than Mac Pro's and then use Citrix to provide remote access, with no local file mapping.

      This means my housemate has to use gmail to email herself her work to do at home over holidays,etc because the IT team refuse to make any changes to the system for anyone, no matter what their job is. This means that something that would be an hour job in the office sometimes takes her all morning because she has to work around the IT team and get other people to mail her stuff.

      It is exactly this laziness, and it IS laziness from IT departments who either refuse to spend the money on existing tools to make the systems easier to use or fit into the business model or refuse to learn/change existing software to securely fit in with the way the users work and a refusal to engage with non technical users to teach them how to use existing setups, which is what makes many IT departments hated.

      1. The Real SteveP
        WTF?

        Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

        Your housemate (and presumably yourself) haven't heard of usb pen drives then? Certainly quicker than email - and if she has the Macbook Pro with her at work, why doesn't she just load up the files she needs before she leaves the office? It's what PC users tend to do (but only if company policy allows).

        Is Citrix the remote client required by her company to be used for PC remote workers? If so, she is being treated no differently or 'lazily' by IT. Has the company's management implemented remote working policies that dictate what the IT department is allowed to provide (that is usually the case)? If so how is that translated into 'laziness from IT departments'? If MS Remote Desktop Client is the company's required remote access client, it is also available (FREE) for Macs, so why isn't she using that?

        A Mac is just a pretty PC using a closed form of UNIX/LINUX as an OS. I don't believe that a professional IT department knows nothing about them. Macs are no different to any other PCs in function (only in the minds of the self-appointed 'elite' that use them) and there is nothing that can be done on them which can't be done on any other form of PC just as effectively and usually cheaper.

        The budgets available to IT departments are usually inadequate for the tasks and results that senior management expect, and more often than not, spending of any budget must be approved by a non-IT literate senior manager - usually the CFO. It is never as black and white as you paint it.

        From an HR perspective, why hasn't anyone questioned why she wants to work in her 'holidays, etc'? Such times are given for resting and taking time out free from work, and are necessary to one's well-being.

        1. Don Dumb
          FAIL

          Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

          Your housemate (and presumably yourself) haven't heard of usb pen drives then?

          I have, they are a gigantic security hole and a useful way to store information that can be easily lost and isn't backed up.

          Thus there are very strict limits and rules on how they are used in some places I know. IT rules aren't just there to make IT's life easier but also to protect the business.

          1. The Real SteveP
            WTF?

            Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

            Your last sentence says it all - EXACTLY why she shouldn't be using G Mail to transmit her data, or encouraging other staff to do so. She is probably already in breach of the company's security policies. USB drives can be encrypted you know - and they should be if they contain anything confidential or proprietary, but it sounds like she wouldn't like the hassle of having to type in a password... But hey, let's blame it all on lazy IT eh?

            Your backup argument is a lame duck. She uses the files on her USB or Macbook Pro, assuming she's not too lazy to copy them there in the first place, then after revising them copies them all back on her next visit to the office. Only problem? It takes just a teeny bit of effort from your friend, who like most Apple iDevice users believe sincerely that the whole planet should in fact revolve around them!

            IF her company has a remote working policy, then she needs to adhere to it. IF they allow VPN access and make server folders available over that, as long as she doesn't mind waiting for her files to download and upload there is no reason why she can't work as easily as the Windows PC users you complain about.

          2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
            Facepalm

            @Don Dumb Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

            Your housemate (and presumably yourself) haven't heard of usb pen drives then?

            I have, they are a gigantic security hole and a useful way to store information that can be easily lost and isn't backed up.

            And you think that emaiing company information to a private gmail account is better?!. USB keys can (and should) be encrypted, and backed-up. Our company IT policy is simple and strict, external storage devices must be encrypted, and sending confidential info to non-company mailboxes is a disciplinary offence which could lead to diismissal.

            Sooner or later there are going to be some high-profile sackings of people who flout their company's IT rules. Maybe then people will take this seriously.

            1. Don Dumb
              Go

              Re: @Don Dumb IT can be a pain in the arse too

              @Phil O'Sohpical - "And you think that emaiing company information to a private gmail account is better?!."

              No I don't, and I entirely agree with your point. The places I know take information very seriously. We don't allow use of email (or messaging of any kind) through any non-company service or netowrk, unless of course it is specifically intended to another organisation.

              I was just replying the the fairly loose idea that the problem could be solved by simply using a USB stick. I agree, until people see IT failures as important as fraud (it is when it's personal data) then people (and mgnt) won[t take this seriously.

        2. bailey86

          Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

          RE macs - you stated 'and there is nothing that can be done on them which can't be done on any other form of PC just as effectively and usually cheaper'.

          I don't think this is true - my other half is a graphic designer and her mac is a much better tool than a Windows PC. Crucially, her seven (7) year old mac book pro was working as fast after seven years as it was on day one.

          And RE 'From an HR perspective, why hasn't anyone questioned why she wants to work in her 'holidays, etc'? Such times are given for resting and taking time out free from work, and are necessary to one's well-being.'

          Clever answer - but the OP point still stands - IT should be helping staff to get on with their work when they want to work. We're all supposed to be flexible etc - as a graphic designer I know my OH sometimes gets things done in the evening when things have gone quiet.

        3. Alfred

          Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

          "Your housemate (and presumably yourself) haven't heard of usb pen drives then?"

          Whilst I can't speak for the OP, I have worked in places where a policy forbade copying company data to unauthorised USB sticks, but was mute on the subject of eMailing it around.

        4. FutureShock999

          Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

          "A Mac is just a pretty PC using a closed form of UNIX/LINUX as an OS. I don't believe that a professional IT department knows nothing about them. Macs are no different to any other PCs in function (only in the minds of the self-appointed 'elite' that use them) and there is nothing that can be done on them which can't be done on any other form of PC just as effectively and usually cheaper."

          I write this as someone who bought his first "PC" in 1981, an Ohio Scientific 6502 that I programmed in assembler and MS's first 8k ROM BASIC. I have used pretty much all PC types known to Western civilisation, except BeOS. I built my own MS-DOS/WIn PCs for 15 years from scratch. I now use both Macs and PCs, AND my gf is a graphic/user experience designer. We probably have about 4 Macs, 3 Windows, and 2 Linux machines in our flat at any one time.

          There is a fair portion of graphic design, multimedia production, and user experience software that either only runs on a Mac, or runs so much _better_ on a Mac that using it on a PC is a PITA. Also to the point, the "office standard" PC selection is usually terribly speced for graphics design - low resolution screens and poor graphics cards especially. Getting a PC that is equivalent to a MacBook Pro usually costs about what a MacBook Pro costs. Whereas, all Macs, including the Mac Mini, operate reasonably well for graphics and multi-media design, due in part to Mac OS having better primitives and being designed for the past 20 years to support those applications better than Windows.

          You CAN take a multimedia PC, such as a Sony Viao Studio series, and get a configuration of applications that do 80-95% of what you can do on a MacBook Pro. But knowing how to do THAT requires almost as much skill as learning how to support Macs, in my experience....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Meh

        Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

        Hmm. Who made the decision to buy Macbooks for the graphics teams I wonder? And did they consult with IT before doing so to find out whether or not the resource to support them was there? If the resources weren't there (and they clearly aren't) did they then use their common sense to budget for resource to support that kit? You may or may not be able to say, but I'm going to guess the answer to the second and third questions is 'no'. In some companies the perception of IT is of this single discipline where every IT person should magically know everything about every piece of kit and be able to just make it work. I've encountered this repeatedly in previous roles, with 3 year leases being signed on photocopiers that were incompatible with the iSeries they planned to use them with, or signing off on iPhones at a time when their mail server provided no support for them. Why? No consultation of the kind that would have saved them pain and money.

        If IT agreed a solution and failed to deliver, that's one thing. If on the other hand IT decisions are made without IT input, you often reap what you sow.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

        You can't honestly blame "lazy IT", unless you know for a fact they spend a great deal of their time doing absolutely nothing. Many IT departments are grossly overworked and understaffed, and there is simply a lot more higher-priority work for them to do, than creating or adapting systems and policies to fit a handful of employees' preferences - employees who seem to be already doing their jobs just fine.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

        "It is exactly this laziness, and it IS laziness from IT departments who either refuse to spend the money on existing tools to make the systems easier to use or fit into the business model or refuse to learn/change existing software"

        I think this does require rudeness: You moron.

        Do you really think that the IT department have NOTHING better to do with their time or their limited resource than enabling effing graphic designers to work from home? Do you think that the business case will hold together when the Finance bods are asked to approve a project to reskill the IT department on Macs, set up the necessary systems and protocols, rewrite the policies and controls, all so that somebody needn't strain themselves coming into the office to do a job they applied for in the first place?

        WFH is a nice luxury, and I do it from time to time. But I recognise it's a luxury, and it typically only exists where the wider business need for IT mobility makes it achievable at near zero cost to the company. There's a lot of people who'd like to WFH but can't (or are not allowed to) for reasons much wider than the technology, so I've no sympathy with your friend. If they want the full "luxuries" of corporate IT, then the only short term answer is to get with the herd and use WIndows, not to carp on because IT don't jump through hoops to satisfy relatively trivial requests from a handful of users who insist that their needs are "special", when these users are actually not the value creators for the business. Like it or not, the value creators for the business are probably the front end sales people who win new business, the accounts teams who collect the cash and pay all the bills, and the call centre/shop front staff who deal with customers.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

          Leaving aside laziness or otherwise, as a long time worker in most aspects of informatics, from developer to administrator to supporter, I see it as all too true that IT departments do tend to forget that their job is to enable the business to work, not to tell them how, what tools to use etc.. One customer may well be those enforcing data security, legal compliance or whatever. Another will be designers whose preferred software runs in the required way on OS X, or some specialised platform we have never heard of or whatever. It is NOT, absolutely, definitively NOT the job of IT to tell designers what hardware and software they must use. It is their job to provide the facilities and support to do so, just as the cleaners' job is to keep the offices clean and empty the bins, not to tell the staff how to dispose of rubbish or change their shoes. The designers, for example, are the experts in the tools they need. IT should be experts in supporting that need. If you buy a particular car, you are not impressed if your garage insists on telling you that you are wrong and should stick with the mechanic's preferred car. What would you do? You would find a more cooperative garage. Some firms are giving their departments the equivalent buying power for IT. I begin more and more to think this is the right way in the face of centralised intransigence and inflexibility.

          IT does get an inflated idea of its own importance and think its priorities and convenience (summarised as "standards") override those of the business and their internal and external customers. Even with IT, there are silly clashes between the platform providers and the application engineers who have to provide tools to, for example, graphics designers or accountants or salesmen.

          If the firm allows workers to work from home, then IT should facilitate that, whatever the operating system or their own bias towards Windows or Suse or OS X, which by the way is based on BSD UNIX, hardly a closed version.

          As an aside, I believe the source of Darwin is available if you want it and the shell tools are mainly GNU and BSD. Oh, and the price of the systems is shown repeatedly, by reputable publications, to be not egregiously expensive for the configuration and quality compared with, say, Dell. From a user perspective, which surely is the critical one, there is a considerable difference between a Windows, Linux or OS X PC. If you do not know that, you have not used the system or worked with users.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Mushroom

        Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

        OK I'll bite.

        "It is exactly this laziness, and it IS laziness from IT departments "

        I did a 14 hour shift yesterday? How about your friend? Also did 5 straight 6 day shifts, oh and on call every other week.

        So she wants training on software that she uses, not IT's job, there are these things called training courses, try them. Failing that, there is this thing called the INTERNET.

        Who choose MacBook, when it not clearly supported?

        Why doesn't the IT choose to support a minority of people? I don't know, to busy supporting the majority of people, to worry about random pieces of kit used by a few because other people in the same field also want the same shiney but of kit.

        Who do you think trains the IT department on these 10,000 different bits of software. Hint No one, it's just IT have heard of this thing called Google.

        Oh and by the way:

        Lazy != same as no budget.

        We had someone similar to yourself, that wanted they pretty toy to work and demanded we fixed it. We then "demanded" the department stump up close on £20K for the hardware and leased lines to do it....and then it went very quiet.

        the problem is, people like you have fuck all idea of time and money involved in you wanting xyz. You buy your pretty white toy for £1000 and have no idea it costs £10,000 to support what you want in your little ideal world.

        1. bailey86

          Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

          Right there's the problem to me.

          'We had someone similar to yourself, that wanted they pretty toy to work and demanded we fixed it. We then "demanded" the department stump up close on £20K for the hardware and leased lines to do it....and then it went very quiet.

          the problem is, people like you have fuck all idea of time and money involved in you wanting xyz. You buy your pretty white toy for £1000 and have no idea it costs £10,000 to support what you want in your little ideal world.'

          IT don't like Macs - usually entrenched Windows only types - and simply can not accept that Macs are by far a better tool for many people who need to get work done.

          Therefore IT throw toys out of pram and make up a huge cost (hardware/ leased lines???) as a block instead of coming up with solutions.

          The staff then perceive IT as the problem - especially when their attitude is to childishly call good products things like 'pretty white toy'. The danger is that if the IT dept are perceived as problematic, childish, etc (geek myth makes this worse) so funding/help will be cut, so they have even less resources to provide solutions - and so the cycle continues.

          To be honest - if the IT dept have the wrong attitude and think that they should decide what tools to use and not the workers then it doesn't matter how much funding they get.

          1. bailey86

            Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

            As another poster pointed out. So when a outsourcing company offers to take the hated IT dept off the companies hands - and makes loads of wonderful promises about 'making people happy' - don't be surprised when the whole IT dept is outsourced.

            Obviously, outsourcing is not the solution. To me we need to educate typical Windows fanbois who end up in IT depts that even though they don't like macs because ... err... whatever ... other people DO like them because they are good tools.

            1. Peter Simpson 1

              Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

              As another poster pointed out. So when a outsourcing company offers to take the hated IT dept off the companies hands - and makes loads of wonderful promises about 'making people happy' - don't be surprised when the whole IT dept is outsourced.

              DO NOT allow this to happen in your company! If it does, prepare and circulate a resume.

              I have been at a company (3Com, Massachusetts), where this happened. It was NOT a pleasant experience. We went from having IT bods who knew the environment and were employees, vested in the company's success, who wanted to help you succeed, to jobsworths who would do only what their contract said they would do. To be fair, this wasn't entirely their fault, they were not allowed to do anything outside what they were contracted to do. The outsourcing of IT indicates either a company cutting costs to the bone (why?) or an out-of touch management team. Both are valid reasons to begin a job search.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

            "Therefore IT throw toys out of pram and make up a huge cost (hardware/ leased lines???) as a block instead of coming up with solutions."

            We didn't make up the costs, those WERE the costs.

            Clearly you have fuck all idea how much things like enterprise grade kit costs.

            To give you a clue, we are looking at replacing our phone system. People are wondering why we don't all get brand new phones and wireless headsets with it as well as it will make like easier...

            Well here why, it adds almost an additional £1.25 MILLION to the price,the system already looking at a cost of around £2 million...but if you can get that past the CEO feel free, go ahead.

            We'd love to give you all the tools you want, but lack of staff, time and money, stops it.

          3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            @bailey86 Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

            IT don't like Macs - usually entrenched Windows only types - and simply can not accept that Macs are by far a better tool for many people who need to get work done.

            If they really are a far better tool for that purpose, then you'll obviously have no trouble persuading the CFO to authorize funding and training for IT to support such a fine way to improve business performance, no?

            If you can't persuade the CFO to finance the better tools, then the problem is clearly with either you or the CFO. In neither case is it IT's fault.

            (and in case you're wondering, I'm not in the IT department. I'm in a department that uses Unix boxes in a mostly Windows shop. We not only persuaded IT to support them, we even convinced their paranoid security folks to change their VPN tools and policy so we could also work from home. It can done, with a good argument and competent people).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

          "Who choose MacBook, when it not clearly supported?" People who want the right tool to do their job, not the tool IT chooses to do the job IT thinks they should be doing in IT's way. IT should learn how to support it. IT's job is to help the business, not to run the business. It is not difficult. Google, Facebook and hundreds of thousands of design and publishing shops manage it. I'm sure if we changed "OS X" to "Linux" you would all be screaming in the other direction.

          It is amazing that we ever got past the centralised mainframe with such dog-in-the-manger attitudes as so many IT types display. They've just replaced IBM (as in, never got sacked for buying), with Windows.

          In a school, would you have the librarian tell the teachers what books to buy for each subject? Or is the librarian's job to manage the books that the teachers deem necessary to teach?

          In most spheres, IT is a service to support the work of the enterprise. Certainly it can advise, suggest, come up with clever ways to provide the service. It is not the dictator of the working methods, any more than the staff canteen cook or building services.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

          Pretty white toy? How much do you know about Apple kit? Sounds like your single experience, probably second-hand, is very ancient if it exists.

          I recall a colleague believed he must have some powerful PC to run Eclipse. He could scarcely believe his eyes when I showed him my ancient (so ancient it really is white, with a split pad) macbook with just 2 GB of memory (told you it is ancient) running Eclipse and building and compiling faster than his usual, ugly, powerful Windows PC (I had to tolerate a similar PC, from HP, so I knew the differences).

          Perhaps "toy" means something different to you. Still, you resorted to swearing, usually a sign of one who has got no proper argument or use of language.

          Support is not "buy". Leased lines are nothing to do with what computer you connect to them. It sounds as if you were at a loss how to do something not covered by the click and point of a windows system that somebody had shown you how to use long ago. Anyway, what budget? You wrote that he had bought the "toy" and the rest was needed whatever hardware and software you had. Of course, knowledge costs money.

          Kit in an office should be "pretty". The ugly stuff stays in a computer room or laboratory. An office is where staff work all day, every day. They should have plants, decent chairs, desks, light, windows and well designed, "pretty" working tools. No doubt they themselves are expected to look "pretty" in whatever dress code the firm expects.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

        "At the end of the day, people are going to do anything to make their jobs easier and unfortunately in a lot of companies, the IT department exists to make IT'S life easier and screw the consequences to the business."

        At the end of the cliche, it appears it's ok for "people" to do anything to make their jobs easier unless they're in IT where suddenly it deserves criticism.

      7. Peter Simpson 1
        Happy

        Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too -- or not.

        I, too, work for a company in the "creative" field. Many, probably most, of the artists and designers use Macs. The engineers and administrative and sales people tend to prefer PCs (though a few use Macs). Our IT department supports both platforms, plus smartphones (we have a standard iPhone 5c platform) to a very high level. This is handled by *four* IT people for a company of around 250 in four worldwide locations.

        IT's biggest gripe is supporting Windows apps on Macs. For this, they use Citrix, and they are, as I understand, less than thrilled, but it is the "standard way of doing it", so they suffer through. Incompatibilities betwen the Mac and Windows versions of various tools (notably MS Office and Outlook), and the continuing pressure from Microsoft to "upgrade" to the next version of applications or OS are also sources of stress.

        In spite of all the above issues, everyone can work from home (up to the limits of the VPN server) and Mac users are *definitely not* treated as second class citizens (the Mac/Win7 split is about 50/50). Identifying, hiring and keeping quality IT staff is challenging -- the bar needs to be set high and there are many candidates out there whose opinion of their capabilities is overly optimistic. We are lucky to have four very capable and experienced individuals supporting us, and that definitely has a positive effect on our bottom line. "You can't do good work without good tools" is true, and you need capable mechanics to keep those tools working.

      8. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

        Cough cough... TROLL .. cough

        Either way, wrong place to play the IT is lazy card!

      9. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: IT can be a pain in the arse too

        @AC "the IT team refuse"

        The moment there is an issue the IT department is always to blame (Even if we know nothing about whatever they are on about) which is probably why most IT departments go something new we can be blamed for, not on the checksheet, "DENIED".

  2. Eradicate all BB entrants

    Companies I have worked for ......

    ...... have always had a policy for this. We will supply a device and software requisite for your job. If you choose to install software yourself that's fine, but please note that if you log an issue with the device we will not troubleshoot, support or assist you until the non-authorised software is removed. If you can't remove it and insist we repair we will use the most expedient method, wipe and image. This kind of policy was most welcome especially when iTunes launched on Windows, or when the Felix cat food screensaver was given away.

    For the IT side of things we had peer sign off, and the ability to check what the software did before spamming the next button.

  3. Buzzword

    For many users it doesn't even occur to them to ask IT if it's ok to install or use a particular piece of software. If they can BYOD they assume they can BYOS too.

    1. apjanes

      Re: "For many users it doesn't even occur to them..."

      and if it does, they simply KNOW they're going to have to go through some long-winded justification process explaining why they want to use the new software, why the existing systems are inadequate and 101 alternatives that don't satisfy their exact requirements as well because the person suggesting them does not entirely understand the requirements. At the end of the day, they just want to get down and get things done and requiring such effort impedes that goal. As a result, it is easier to just use their own under-the-radar software.

      1. NotWorkAdminn

        Re: "For many users it doesn't even occur to them..."

        Sure, but in my experience a user who believes they need a piece of non approved software doesn't actually properly understand the actual job they are supposed to be doing and is instead performing their own interpretation of what the company requires of them. That's not always a bad thing, just usually.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's another reason front line business will occasionally go the saas route. Accounting. Saas can be paid for with opex and therefore they don't need to go through the whole business case and benefits process like they do for capital projects.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Admin passwords...

    ..why bother. I don't know why MS bothered. We need to let people do what they want with the computer, it saves us from all the hassle of actually getting off our backsides and walking around the office taking care of all the suits and hippies up there. Or something like that.

    1. PJI

      Re: Admin passwords...

      The suits and hippies keep you employed. Without them, your work is unnecessary.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Admin passwords...

        I was being sarcastic about lazy IT. But then again, I'm one of the hippies! :D

  6. apjanes

    Is your data REALLY that sensitive?

    Too many times I have come across paranoid businesses who are so concerned that no one gets access to their all important data/IP when in reality non of what they produce is particularly revolutionary or desirable. Far too often I think companies have a much inflated sense of self-importance.

    1. Tomato42 Silver badge

      Re: Is your data REALLY that sensitive?

      while in principle I agree, there is also the problem of Personally identifiable information as leaking such data makes you a target to sue

    2. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Re: Is your data REALLY that sensitive?

      Many businesses might be rather more concerned with the practicalities of say, not being held liable under the Data Protection Act, or not being blackmailed by third parties with access to their data who've found something actionable, or not having their competitors gain access to their financials and game plan for the year, or not suffering massive customer backlash, litigation and negative publicity if personal data was involved, or not losing their ability to process credit cards because their data loss demonstrates their non-PCI compliance. Just saying.

      Or do you REALLY think intellectual property is the only important thing companies store?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > It defined "shadow IT" as "SaaS applications used by employees for business, which have not been approved by the IT department or obtained according to IT policies".

    Shadow IT is more than SaaS. I have come across innumerable cobbled together spreadsheets and access abominations that are both business critical and totally off IT's radar...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I have come across innumerable cobbled together spreadsheets ..... totally off IT's radar..."

      one place i know has a spreadsheet that contains all of their card purchase transaction data - on a file server that's open to anyone who knows where to find it - and I do mean _all_ ....... and people even have to ask why IT sometimes does not think it's a good idea to let end users choose their own "solutions"?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I have come across innumerable cobbled together spreadsheets ..... totally off IT's radar..."

        Pretty sure George Osborne's entire economic policy revolves around some ancient and questionable Excel worksheets and nasty macros.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nevermind SAAS...

      I know of someone who built a CGI room and render farm off the grid.

      The marketing department had been using a contractor for a while and had got to the point where they had these guys in every other week and were spending so much commissioning this stuff they decided to insource it. Additionally the training department had shown interest in using CGI elements in training videos, and were willing to pitch in to the cost to keep the proposed in-house team busy when they weren't doing marketing material.

      Corporate IT said no - the conversation went thusly:

      IT - "We don't know anything about render servers, they might be a security risk".

      Marketing - "They're only Windows boxes, and they'll be on a private high-speed LAN anyway with no outside connectivity."

      IT - "Their own LAN!? Then we can't monitor it for security!"

      Marketing - "So what do our CGI wranglers work on?"

      IT - "Not our problem"

      Marketing - "Ummmm, IT infrastructure, not IT's problem? Intriguing."

      At that point IT had crossed a line - their job is to recommend a preferred supplier, how to implement it, tell them not to use Macs but Windows (or vice versa).

      Once upon a time they maintained the word processors, then they had to work out email, then the world wide web came along. If marketing want some workstations, then that's just another string to add to their bow in the name of supporting the company's business activities.

      Telling Marketing how to go about their business, telling them they were not allowed to buy CGI workstations (with their own budget!) crossed the line from making an IT decision to making a business decision on behalf of another department.

      So the other department ignored them and got on with their job.

      Marketing spent £40k on stationary that year, paid for across 95 invoices of under £500 each. They also employed two "New media" specialists, who were definitely NOT Digital Artists/CGI Specialists!

  8. Tony Rogerson

    Age old comment - Business is NOT there for IT, it's the other way round - a lot of people in IT forget that.

    Business cannot do without IT, but, it can do without internal IT if that internal IT wraps itself up in empire building, politics, procrastination because of self-preservation in specific technology areas.

    Ever thought why one of the reasons to outsource IT isn't just money?

    Lol - expecting a lot of flame for the above, but I'll not bite.

    1. Eradicate all BB entrants

      We do know that IT is there .....

      ..... for the business. And that is what we concentrate on, keeping the business going. It really does not matter how important you think you are to the business, you are just a user.

      I run the IT here solo, many of us do in similar circumstances. I am moving it to a model where one day I will not be needed at all. So far from protecting my job I am actively trying to make myself redundant. Why? Because that's what the business needs and I was employed to benefit the business.

      As for the empire building line, stop confusing techs with middle\senior management.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We do know that IT is there .....

        "As for the empire building line, stop confusing techs with middle\senior management"

        Indeed, everyone knows that we sit in the basement!

    2. Trygve Henriksen

      We in IT KNOW this!

      'Empire building' is unfortunately somewhat of a 'survival response' in some Companies.

      Often, IT started off as 'that bloke in accounting' who had a PC and knew how to use Lotus 123.

      As IT grew, it often staid in accounting, as no one really understood the importance. And being in accounting, it means that a lot of Department heads are higher ranked, and can pull the 'I'm more important than you and I decide what kind of dross my employees need'...

      How do you 'defend' against the mess that this situation causes?

      IT needs to be directly under the president/Company leader.

      He needs to give IT their mandates and help validate policy rules.

      This allows IT to 'standardise' on computer models and SW, to set Security policies...

      Only when this kind of work is done will IT have time to cater to the needs(imagined or real) of individual users.

  9. John 98

    Laziness or hindered

    It takes a month to get an account set up on the official tool. It doesn't work anyway. Meanwhile the customers are screaming.

    You phone IT - their head is the CFO, who only knows what his teenage son has managed to teach him and is only interested in not spending money; they have no budget, are short staffed, haven't anywhere to backup enterprise critical stuff regularly and are trying to cannibalise one ancient server to keep an old one going etc. They will pass your complaint on, but don't hold your breathe.

    I have encountered all these, singly or sometimes stirred together in a lovely cocktail of chaos. Lazy IT, or - just maybe - the organisation is taking the customary 40 years (waiting for a generation to retire) that they have needed since the dawn of time to use a new technology sensibly.

  10. Don Jefe

    Nobody Knows - Feel My Pain

    Nobody except the general staffers in most organizations actually know how the business works. Kind of like a car, people understand (sort of) how to drive and fuel one to go from A to B, but beyond that most people couldn't even draw a rudimentary picture of how it actually works. It's the same in business. The businesses that figure out how to increase the overall level of understanding throughout its operations are the ones that generally do well.

    Within a business most everyone is under the impression that their particular area of responsibility is the keystone function that makes everything work. They don't need to understand the rest of the business because those things are stupid, ineffective, unnecessary, etc... Most everyone is dead wrong.

    Everything has to work together to make a business go and that can't be optimized if nobody understands what's actually going on. As a rule, the person who answers the phones or the customer service people, general, unskilled staff, know better than anyone how it all works. That's how 'shadow ware' sneaks in, forgotten people trying to make their work easier, faster, etc...

    They're forgotten because other departments are too focused on their own tasks. Management doesn't understand, sales doesn't understand, ops & finance don't understand and IT doesn't understand. They don't understand because nobody ever bothers to ask general staff.

    It's all down to communication. If you don't understand what your CEO or Sales team do, that's a failure on their part. If you don't understand what Finance does that's a failure on their part. If you're in IT and people don't understand what you do, that's a failure on your part.

    I wouldn't expect everyone to be interchangeable, but everyone needs at least a basic understanding of what's going on throughout the organization. When people don't have time to explain what they do, or can't articulate what they do in an audience friendly way that's a really bad sign. That usually means that person doesn't even understand their own job, much less someone else's. When we invest in a company the overall level of business operations knowledge that is displayed throughout the organization is one of the things we look at the hardest and the longest. That's because that is what's going to make or break that company.

    Not getting the tools you need to meet your responsibilities? Then it's on you to brush up on your sales skills and get that solved. It doesn't matter what department you're in, if you need something and understand the business well enough to articulate why you need it then you should be getting it. If you're not then you need to look inside yourself and figure out how to get it. If you can't do that you're pretty well resigning your self to your current position for the rest of your working life.

    From the Executives all the way down to interns, everyone should understand not only what they do, but what else everyone else does. If you don't know then how can you possibly expect to be able to support those people? You end up delivering a flame thrower to paint a natural gas pumping rig, and that's exactly what happens. It happens so often that 83% of workers (apparently) feel they don't have the tools they need. That's a failure on their part and IT's part. Part of successfully making and maintaining tools, of any kind, is understanding enough to be able to anticipate what will be needed next and communicate those needs in a way that sees the resources to do it delivered. If you can't do that there's a really big problem, and you can only see it if you look in a mirror.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am a guilty party

    I run websites, intranet, various digital services (coding myself in most cases, such as forms, surveys, simple stuff) and I also edit video, do digital images, etc. I have a vast mosaic of SaaS to do my job. I work for a very big organisation with a very good IT department indeed, but they work within their constraints and could not quickly or adequately support what I needed to have. I was being pressured from the top brass to deliver, I was getting 12-14 possible delivery dates from IT, and Procurement were ever slower. So I decided that the Top Brass wanted it, and I wanted to keep my job, so I did what I had to do in order to deliver. And my internal customers are happy with me, because they ask. 'can we do [whatever]?' and I say 'yes' and 'you can have that in an hour/tomorrow/next week'. They like this because they are pressured, too.

    I have every sympathy with IT and I understand their constraints and their own pressures, but at the end of the day, I want to be a 'can do' person and so I just do. I don't ask IT for support, and if I get into trouble, I will fall on my own sword.

  12. Keep Refrigerated
    Terminator

    It's already here...

    Part of the problem in huge monolithic organisations that I have observed, is often down to the fact that IT security takes precedence over any other function.

    When IT locks down the company so much that USB ports are disabled, email attachments stripped and access to cloud servers blocked - then users assume if they can access a cloud service, it's not blocked and therefore it's permissible (after all they block anything not permissible).

    Security is important, but in some organisations, they're spending so much money making the door to the cell safe, and ignoring the fact that the inmates are climbing out of the windows.

    Couple this with the fact that managers want projects done by certain deadlines - that do not take into account the time spent that would be waiting for account propagation, software justification and sign off. To use another analogy - they're trying to operate a steam-liner like a yacht.

    I've known of contractors being paid a typical day rate who've spent the first 3 days reading a newspaper waiting for an account and access. On the other hand most of the time people just swap login details so they can get working... How much time and money is being wasted on security procedures that are simply not followed (and by logical extension probably not necessary for certain IT tasks and systems)?

    It's not IT though, it's management as a whole needing to get their collective heads out of their asses and realise that life finds a way - their employees are not only using shadow IT, but without it, their company would flop under the weight of their own IT constraints.

  13. A Long Fellow

    Common core with edge/fringe additions

    I've been the victim on both sides of the IT management / user divide, so I sympathise with both perspectives. I can respect the pressures from both sides, and I usually try to reach a compromise between them. Ultimately, both extremes are untenable. Whether IT tells me that I am _required_ to use only sanctioned hardware and software, or a user tells me (as IT dept) that I am _required_ to support everything he happens to like using, the extremes show a lack of leadership.

    In practice, this is easy to set up and requires only intelligence and flexibility to sustain: there's a common core of functionality and support offered by IT that extends as far as management can stretch; a user who wants to venture beyond those 'safe waters' does so without the support of IT.

    Unfortunately, the unholy trinity of bean-counters and careerist IT managers and MBAs has led to rigidly-defined decision structures that incompetent manager cling to in lieu of thinking.

  14. MissingSecurity

    Why is it ...

    ... WFH is a blessing for users, but a curse for IT.

    Oh, you're on vacation? .... But you can do that remotely right? EVERY GOD DAMN TIME.

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