Shadow IT Expanding Within Federal IT Environments
August 07, 2015

Joel Dolisy
SolarWinds

Share this

Shadow IT and mobile device use continues to expand within federal IT environments, while some IT pros lack control and confidence in their ability to manage the accompanying security risks, according to a SolarWinds survey on the current state of government IT management and monitoring. The survey also found that adoption and benefits of IT shared services are overcoming organizational resistance.

Not Enough Leadership Focus on Shadow IT

While only 12 percent of respondents indicated that shadow IT — when IT systems and solutions are built and used inside organizations without explicit organizational approval — is an area of high importance and leadership focus in their agency, nearly six in ten (58%) expect the use of shadow IT to increase in the next two years.

■ Shadow IT ranked second among areas that IT departments have least control over in terms of management and monitoring

■ Only 13 percent of respondents are very confident in their ability to protect against the negative consequences of shadow IT

■ A majority of respondents (71%) indicate that security consequences are the biggest issue with shadow IT, followed by duplication of IT efforts (50%), lack of interoperability (37%) and lack of adequate performance monitoring (36%)

■ Organizations using management and monitoring tools are significantly more confident than those who do not in their ability to protect against the negative consequences of shadow IT

Low Confidence in Data Protection Persists

Thirty-six percent of respondents indicate that only agency-owned mobile devices are allowed to access to their systems, but 80 percent of respondents still believe that mobile devices pose a threat to their agency’s security and 35 percent don’t provide security training for mobile device users.

■ Only 25 percent of respondents are very confident in their agency’s ability to effectively protect their organization’s data

■ The majority of respondents utilize data encryption (65%), firewall rule audits (60%), mobile device wiping (55%), mobile application inventory and authorization (52%), and two-factor authentication to secure mobile devices (52%), but at least 35 percent of respondent haven’t fully implemented any of these solutions

■ Respondents indicated that securing both the application and the device (43%) was the most challenging aspect of mobile technology security followed by ensuring devices are not infected by malware (37%) and that data is not accessed by unauthorized users (36%)

IT Shared Services Gain Traction and Deliver Benefits

Despite perceived concerns that IT shared services would compromise security, performance and control, more than half of respondents see them as beneficial to all agency stakeholders, including IT department personnel, end users, agency leadership and citizens/constituents .

■ Respondents rated the key benefits of shared services as saving money by eliminating duplication (60%), achieving economies of scale (54%) and standardized IT services for consistent performance (52%)

■ More than 80 percent believe that either an internal shared services model or an outsourced private partnership is most likely to provide superior customer service versus no shared services

■ The biggest widespread adoption barriers for shared services include cultural resistance to change (56%), perceived decreased flexibility (37%) and lack of executive buy-in (37%)

Fully securing a federal IT environment will undoubtedly remain a key concern for IT pros, and as control issues creep in with shadow IT and the mass adoption of mobile devices, security is brought to the management forefront. Agency leaders must not only provide their IT pros with the right tools to maintain control and security of their infrastructure, but remain flexible in considering operational and organizational changes like IT shared services that can help institute agency-wide security protocols and more.

“SolarWinds’ study provides detailed insight into how federal IT pros are adapting, managing and assuring oversight as shadow IT, mobile technology and shared services continue to grow in their environments,” concludes Laurie Morrow, Director of Research Services, Market Connections, Inc. “This research reinforces that fully implementing multiple management, monitoring and security tools provides significantly more control and confidence throughout IT organizations in the wake of this change.”

Joel Dolisy is CIO and CTO at SolarWinds.

Share this

The Latest

December 05, 2019

Application performance monitoring (APM) has become one of the key strategies adopted by IT teams and application owners in today’s era of digital business services. Application downtime has always been considered adverse to business productivity. But in today’s digital economy, what is becoming equally dreadful is application slowdown. When an application is slow, the end user’s experience accessing the application is negatively affected leaving a dent on the business in terms of commercial loss and brand damage ...

December 04, 2019

Useful digital transformation means altering or designing new business processes, and implementing them via the people and technology changes needed to support these new business processes ...

December 03, 2019
The word "digital" is today thrown around in word and phrase like rice at a wedding and never do two utterances thereof have the same meaning. Common phrases like "digital skills" and "digital transformation" are explained in 101 different ways. The outcome of this is a predictable cycle of confusion, especially at business management level where often the answer to business issues is "more technology" ...
December 02, 2019

xMatters recently released the results of its Incident Management in the Age of Customer-Centricity research study to better understand the range of various incident management practices and how the increased focus on customer experience has caused roles across an organization to evolve. Findings highlight the ongoing challenges organizations face as they continue to introduce and rapidly evolve digital services ...

November 26, 2019

The new App Attention Index Report from AppDynamics finds that consumers are using an average 32 digital services every day — more than four times as many as they realize. What's more, their use of digital services has evolved from a conscious decision to carry around a device and use it for a specific task, to an unconscious and automated behavior — a digital reflex. So what does all this mean for the IT teams driving application performance on the backend? Bottom line: delivering seamless and world-class digital experiences is critical if businesses want to stay relevant and ensure long-term customer loyalty. Here are some key considerations for IT leaders and developers to consider ...

November 25, 2019

Through the adoption of agile technologies, financial firms can begin to use software to both operate more effectively and be faster to market with improvements for customer experiences. Making sure there is the necessary software in place to give customers frictionless everyday activities, like remote deposits, business overdraft services and wealth management, is key for a positive customer experience ...

November 21, 2019

For the past two years, Couchbase has been digging into enterprises' digital strategies. Can they deliver the experiences and services their end-users need? What pressure are they under to innovate and succeed? And what is driving investments in new technologies? ...

November 20, 2019

Adapting to new business requirements and technological shifts requires that IT Ops teams adopt a different viewpoint, and along with that, skills and culture. A survey by OpsRamp uncovered some common thinking among IT Operations leaders on how to address talent, budget, and data management pains amid digital disruption ...

November 19, 2019

Unexpected and unintentional drops in network quality, so-called network brownouts, cause serious financial damage and frustrate employees. A recent survey sponsored by Netrounds reveals that more than 60% of network brownouts are first discovered by IT’s internal and external customers, or never even reported, instead of being proactively detected by IT organizations ...

November 18, 2019

Digital transformation reaches into every aspect of our work and personal lives, to the point that there is an automatic expectation of 24/7, anywhere availability regarding any organization with an online presence. This environment is ripe for artificial intelligence, so it's no surprise that IT Operations has been an early adopter of AI ...