Why Rogue IT is Changing the Way We Do Business

 

Editor’s note: Follow contributor Mark Fidelman @markfidelman

2013-10-11-ITHorrorStory-01a.jpgA security team at a large non-profit heard there were a bunch of people using Dropbox without authorization and their files had recently been hacked, so they made a call to Dropbox. Without authenticating their identity, Dropbox offered the list of 1600 user names and their email addresses. “The Dropbox guys wanted to get them moved to the enterprise version so much they were willing to share a customer list without even authenticating the folks on the phone!”

It gets worse.

A pharmaceutical company in the middle of a six-week drug test to secure FDA approval suddenly saw a tech savvy groups’ rogue IT missteps corrupt their data, destroying the test and ultimately costing $500 million in lost revenue.

Rogue IT horror stories like these are happening all the time. Whether dealing with super tech savvy employees seeking simple solutions, or tech challenged folks using whatever consumer app is readily available, either employee scenario can be the stuff of IT nightmares.

Are these people just terrible employees? No, they’re part of today’s increasingly mobile workforce, and they need better options when it comes to working on the go. Without consistent, easy to use productivity and collaboration options, most opt to use unsanctioned services like Dropbox or Google Docs, causing financial consequences as well as data loss, unintentional data leaks, reputational damage and full company shutdowns for days or weeks as they scramble to resolve these issues.

And it’s not only businesses that suffer – employees feel Enterprise IT pains as well. Can you imagine being fired for that instant message you just sent? Well, you certainly could be if you’re sharing sensitive customer data (including credit cards and bank routing details) across consumer IM networks, like MSN Messenger, Yahoo and AOL (true story). You didn’t know it was that serious of an offense? Well, THAT is part of the problem.

The disconnect between business users’ and Enterprise IT is multi-faceted. If it continues to grow unchecked, if employees can’t be convinced to “drop-box” and other unsafe services like it for simple to use, safe company-sanctioned alternatives, these problems are just the beginning.

My client harmon.ie is hosting a Rogue IT Horror Story contest that seeks to draw attention to these risks, by highlighting what happens when organizations don’t keep pace with employees’ needs and said employees “go rogue.”

We want to know your story. You will remain anonymous so that we can better understand why it’s happening and how to help IT and employees come to a better solution. Submit yours by this Friday October 18th for the chance to win a free pass to SharePoint Conference 2014 or Samsung Galaxy 4. Again, all submissions are anonymous and will be judged by a panel of mobile enterprise, security and IT experts, including Christian Buckley, Bob Egan, Michael Krigsman, Maribel Lopez, Nicholas McQuire and Benjamin Robbins, together with the IT community.

The best (worst stories) will be announced on All Hallow’s Eve.