New-Gen Data Protection vs. Shadow IT: A Huge IT Battlefield

eWEEK/Code42 will host a live Webinar discussion March 5 on "IT Can Be Done: How to Protect Enterprise Data Yet Enable Secure Access for End Users."

As the global IT storage hardware, software and services businesses move into another new year, we continue to see many of the usual-suspect problems, despite all the innovation that regularly emanates from vendors and entrepreneurs.

These issues include the exponential proliferation of unstructured and structured data, larger and more frequent storage/archive deployments, security issues, a sharp increase in shadow IT, bottlenecks in networking, flat or shrinking IT budgets, and longer data-retention periods due to new rules and regulations. There are no signs of any of these diminishing in this calendar year.

Current market demands are driving the need for even more cost-effective, long-term storage systems than have become available in the past. The market has matured to a point where accessibility and performance are essential to long-term data storage, security and preservation.

Naturally, a large number of companies are busily trying to answer this demand by updating their products or coming out with entirely new ones. eWEEK gets a large number of pitches for these new storage hardware, software and services on a daily basis.

'Good Balance' Needed Between IT Control, Enterprise Staff

"The biggest challenge that enterprise is facing is establishing a good balance between the type of control over data that IT is looking for, and the flexibility that their workforces are demanding," Code42 chief architect Andrew Renz told eWEEK.

Code42 owns its own storage cloud. The Minnesota-based company's No. 1 product, CrashPlan, backs up data to remote servers, other computers, or hard drives and is available on Mac, Windows, Solaris and Linux PCs. The consumer version is sold on a freemium model--daily local backups are free--but using Code 42's cloud service requires a paid subscription called CrashPlan+.

"This (challenge) has been accelerated in the last few years in that users are increasingly saying that IT is too slow or not providing the type of tools that they're interested in," Renz said. "This drives the adoption of shadow IT that says: 'I just need services to get my work done.'

"For example, you go out and sign up for Google Drive or Dropbox, in order to exchange files with users because your Exchange email attachments can't be more than 10 MB. That's one example we see all the time. You've now just had your users put data in some external cloud service so you have no control or visibility. But they just went out and figured out a way to complete their work without involving you guys in IT."

How can this dilemma be solved? This is fodder for discussion in many enterprise meeting rooms around the country and the world.

Key Industry Metrics Tell a Story

Here are some recent industry metrics from respected IT researchers that show why the growth of shadow IT remains one of the top three IT issues of this era:

--Unstructured data will account for 90 percent of all data in the next decade (IDC).

--75 percent of all information in the digital universe is currently created by individuals, not enterprises (IDC). Enterprises touch that data 80 percent of the time it is in existence.

--Only 50 percent of all that unstructured data has any type of protection (IDC). That is one of the more disconcerting metrics, no question about that.

--More than half (52 percent) of people utilize multiple devices daily for work (Forrester Research).

--About 300 million tablet PCs were sold worldwide in 2013. That number will triple to 905 million by 2017 (Forrester).

--About 60 percent of all workers have used a personal device for a work task (Gartner Research).

--About half of all enterprises will require workers to bring their own devices to work by 2017 (Gartner Research).

--41 percent of workers have used an unsanctioned cloud storage service in the last six months, even though their companies have a policy forbidding it (Gartner).

There are new-gen storage packages from several progressive-thinking vendors that combine on-premises and cloud storage and data protection and that also: a) keep business and personal files separate, and b) make them easy to access. eWEEK reports on them regularly; go to our Storage section to find the latest storage news.

This week, we'll be talking about these issues and market metrics and discussing practical ways to solve such problems in a special live Web "radio talk show" event. Renz, a former Apple software developer, will be the guest storage expert on our special live eWEEK Webinar Wednesday, March 5, at 11 a.m. Pacific/2 p.m. Eastern time.

You can register for this free interactive event here. Hope you can join us on March 5.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...