The Spiceworks Review: Is Shadow IT even a real thing?

Our monthly roundup of the best discussions on the online community, from giving your career a boost to David Hasselhoff and unicorns.

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Anyone who runs a network has heard of shadow IT. Mike Smith, president of AeroCom, says many of his company’s cloud service providers are talking about solutions for shadow IT — claiming it’s a growing concern within mid-size IT departments. “I’m curious how ‘real’ the issue actually is,” he said, going straight to the IT pros for advice.

Shane Young, a network/systems admin who has spent 21 years in the business, says shadow IT is a way of life — and those who say shadow IT doesn’t exist have their head in the sand (or a well funded and well respected IT department).

“People need to get the job done. For the most part the company doesn’t always care how. If IT plays the role of police, people will just find a way around and not involve IT,” he said. “If IT plays the (role) of enabler, they will know what is going on and how to best protect the network.”

Ray Austin, a network/systems admin, says there’s no point being a “no” man because users will simply go around you. “Then you lose control and will have to clean up whatever mess they made trying to do it without you,” he said. So he asks why his users have a need, then researches the best solution for that need, bouncing ideas off his boss and making a decision on how to proceed.

Climbing the IT ladder was another popular topic of discussion. Some Spiceworks members lamented the difficulty of being an IT pro for SMBs. ITslave, an IT manager, believes the future for IT pros isn’t as SMB IT admins, but at larger enterprises on an internal IT team or with a service provider that serves the SMB market.

David Geiger, a network/systems admin, offered up some tips on how to succeed in IT. “Gone are the days of the grumpy IT admin or software engineer. You know the kind: They toil away in a dark basement and you slip food under the door every so often,” he said. “You don’t need to be a people person (necessarily), but you need to know that, because IT touches every area of a business, you will need to be socially capable enough to interact with everyone from the CEO/president down to the most junior person on their first day.”

Darren Breidigan agrees, saying you can’t be a mushroom any more. “Companies expect you to fix their IT problems and be involved in the total concept of their company vision. And have the demeanour of Richard Dawson, like on Family Feud.”

Another hot topic: what to do when users forget to lock their screens (especially if it’s company policy). Spiceworks member Brayden Santo asked members if they do anything clever or witty to help users remember to lock their screens.

Systems integrator jmah says: “We always change the wallpaper … to either unicorns or david hasslehoff [sic].” (Note: It’s worth scrolling down the thread to see an actual screenshot of David Hasselhoff, with strategically placed Shar Pei puppies.) Which led to a response from Hal Thompson: “Oh come on, make it the Hoff on a unicorn!”

Hoff on a unicorn (or Hofficorn) — that might solve your end-user compliancy problems once and for all.


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