Have you heard of the "borderless enterprise"? The term is coined to refer to the modern company, in which business processes no longer begin within the company and its IT department, but instead flow freely (without borders) from both inside and outside the organization. Cloud computing, mobile technology, and the consumerization of the IT department all contribute to the advent of the borderless enterprise.
Much of the media coverage buzzes about the potential of the borderless enterprise. Work can now be done anywhere, by anyone, at any time. Less coverage is given to the dark side of the borderless enterprise: an environment where shadow IT (the use of software and applications that IT doesn't know about) leads to confusion, compatibility issues, and security problems. This is the dark side of the borderless enterprise.
IT is Unaware of Security Vulnerabilities
|When IT is left in the dark about what's on the network, it's impossible for them to find and close the security vulnerabilities.|
All software and applications come with inherent vulnerabilities and security risks. When IT is allowed to choose the applications used, study the documentation, and configure it with the right security settings, these vulnerabilities can usually be managed. However, when IT isn't even aware that the application is in use on the network, the vulnerabilities are ripe for exploitation. Add in the inherent security risks associated with cloud environments and mobile devices, and security issues go from manageable to frightening.
Creating an Unnecessarily Complex IT Environment
Users rarely stop to consider how an app or software package is going to integrate with other systems, and if they do consider it, they likely don't know the answers. IT understands how all of the software on the system works together, as well as what will and what won't work with what's there. Yet even in the borderless enterprise in which users are continually introducing new apps to the mix, IT is still charged with making it all work together properly. Shadow IT can radically affect the network performance, and it's not always clear what is causing the issue or what can be done to fix it.
The Difficulties in Training Within the Borderless Enterprise
|IT used to be able to provide training and support for business apps. The borderless enterprise makes this nearly impossible.|
IT is generally responsible for training workers and users on the organization's systems and solutions, but this is difficult when IT isn't really sure what workers are using to get their jobs done. Training used to be the key way that IT stopped workers from doing things that could harm the system or open the network to vulnerabilities. In the borderless enterprise, workers are rarely formally trained. When they are, it's often informally by a coworker who may have some not-so-great ideas about how things work.
Shadow IT Can Lead to Software Licensing Non-Compliance
Freeware and shareware are common tools brought into the borderless environment by users, but some of this software is actually not for free when used in a business environment. This can lead to the organization being found out of compliance with software agreements that they didn't even know they had entered into.
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