New cloud survey reveals shadow IT dangers, and cloud policy adoption levels

A new report has once again pointed out the extent of shadow IT usage (apps and services which are used by employees without the knowledge or clearance of the IT department).

The Cloud Adoption, Practices and Priorities survey from the Cloud Security Alliance (sponsored by Skyhigh Networks) questioned some 200 IT and security professionals from different sized companies across the globe.

It found that 72 per cent did not know the number of shadow IT apps running within their company. Also, when it comes to data security in the cloud, decisions are being made increasingly in the boardroom rather than by the IT department, and 61 per cent of respondents said executives are now involved in those decisions.

Security is still certainly a major concern when it comes to the cloud, but companies continue to head cloud-wards, with 74 per cent saying they are moving forward with adoption of cloud services either full steam ahead, or with caution.

As for policies in place to manage cloud adoption, unsurprisingly large enterprises make the most effort here, with those having over 5,000 staff members more likely to have set up a cloud governance committee – 35 per cent of them have done so, in fact, compared to 12 per cent of smaller firms. They are also more likely to have a policy on acceptable cloud usage, with 61 per cent of large enterprises doing so, although more of the smaller companies also achieve this at 45 per cent.

In terms of how many organisations block cloud services, only 38 per cent said they do, yet the top services blocked included cloud storage providers alongside social networking sites.

Rajiv Gupta, CEO of Skyhigh Networks, commented: “The past few years have marked a paradigm shift in IT’s role, from provider to enabler. This survey, the largest of its kind, illustrates that companies are aware of the consumerisation of IT but have room to more proactively address the security concerns of cloud adoption.”