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The Gap Between Shadow IT & Traditional IT by @JeffHDS | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

Security doesn’t have to be a compromise when workers are storing data in the cloud

Bridging the Gap Between Shadow IT and Traditional IT

Business users can conjure new applications, send messages and share information around the world at the speed of light from their mobile devices. But just because they can, doesn't mean they should - all this sharing and collaboration can have consequences on businesses' security. Sending this content without consulting the IT department can bring ruin to the best laid plans of an entire organization. There, in the dark regions of Shadow IT lurk the evils of illegality, non-compliance, data loss, information leaks and content theft. For example, a doctor puts patient data on her tablet so she doesn't have to carry a pile of charts on her rounds. The tablet is stolen and HIPPA regulators are not happy. A marketing guy puts a product roadmap presentation into a file sharing service that gets hacked and future product details are leaked to the press. A salesperson loses his computer bag at an industry conference and price lists and customer contact information are now in the hands of the competition.

Back when everyone used corporate issued laptops and BlackBerrys, IT had the control to help mitigate these risks. In today's world of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and cloud, IT is no longer the sole gatekeeper of technology in an organization. Departments and even individual users have access to inexpensive or even free tools that help them accomplish their goals without the capital expense, development and test delays and other pains associated with getting new services from their internal IT teams. What these departments and individuals may not realize is that part of the reason for these pains is the necessary rigor that IT has developed to ensure data protection, security, privacy, compliance and other services required for applications and their data. While it might be cheaper and faster for users and departments to just go around IT, that doesn't mean they should.

The blame doesn't rest solely on these rogue users and Shadow IT. There are technologies available to IT organizations that can help them be more responsive to demands for new and better services. These technologies empower IT to equip users with the right tools for mobility and enhanced collaboration. The tools similar to those used by big cloud service providers are also available for private organizations as well. Technologies like object storage, cloud file gateways and file sync and share tools are plentiful and can combine the flexibility and cost of the cloud with the rigor and security of private IT. Object storage is one of the core technologies that underpins these next-generation storage services. Object storage is imminently scalable, highly automated and intelligent data storage that works with a wide range of applications and data types. This is the same kind of storage technology the big cloud vendors use to store and serve files, whether from Web 2.0 applications, cloud file gateways or file sync and share tools. Bringing in object storage is a key step for transforming IT from stodgy, traditional architectures defined by their technology into more responsive, flexible and cost-effective internal service provider that better serves the needs of the business, as well as the lawyers and insurance companies.

With an object store at the core, IT can offer a range of new services quickly and easily. A good object store is ‘multi-tenant' meaning it can support multiple simultaneous and segregated workloads in a single physical system, making it easier to manage and scale.

A better object store will support traditional and next-generation storage protocols as well as a variety of media including cloud service providers. As data is being created and consumed in all sorts of ways, new and old, IT needs to support their existing workloads as well as the next-generation of applications and user behavior.

The best object stores will go beyond just storing and serving data to offer rich metadata (data about a file such as tagging photos with locations or people) capabilities, to create a searchable and auditable content inventory. This metadata not only helps find and track data, but helps automate the lifecycle of information so that the right data is in the right place at the right time. It is also important for IT to note that the best overall private and hybrid cloud choices for IT will be from vendors that offer solutions, not just an object store, a cloud gateway or a file sync and share tool. These technologies may seem simple on the surface, but taking on each one as its own project spawns siloes of technology that have a negative impact on efficiency, hamper business intelligence efforts and create headaches around installation and support.

As you can see, security doesn't have to be a compromise when workers are storing data in the cloud. With the right enterprise-grade tools, IT can encourage secure cloud storage so workers can work the way they want, from wherever they want. The right cloud storage will enhance an organization's overall productivity and efficiency, while also securing the data end to end, regardless of where, when and how the data is accessed.

More Stories By Jeff Lundberg

Jeff Lundberg has been at Hitachi Data Systems for 7 years as a senior product marketing manager for file, content and cloud. He's a veteran of both VERITAS Software and HP with 15+ years of experience in archiving, data protection, information lifecycle management, object storage and file services. Lundberg holds a BS from Santa Clara University.

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