Cisco has launched a software-as-a-service-based attack on shadow IT.
To understand it, indulge me by learning that one of the first big launches your correspondent covered was that of Computer Associates Unicenter TNG Framework, a slimmed-down version of the enterprise management tool that – if memory serves – included a network discovery tool that scoured your LAN and figured out what was connected to it. The idea was that most organisations had no idea what they were running: whole servers and switches might be unknown to IT.
In the far-off late 1990s when CA emitted the product, chances were those shadowy servers and switches were in some department that had decided to run up a Windows NT box to do something that IT wasn't delivering fast enough. CA reckoned that if CIOs could see what they weren't managing, they'd realise it represented security and cost risk and decide Unicenter was just the thing to get some rigour going on.
Fast-forward to today, on which Cisco has introduced a new tool called “Cloud Consumption as a Service” to help you “discover and continually monitor public cloud use across an organization.”
The Borg reckons you need the service because “Recent analysis by Cisco reveals the extent of the shadow IT challenge. The average large enterprise now uses 1,220 individual public cloud services.” And guess what? Cisco says “There are significant business risks associated with uncontrolled adoption of public cloud services. These range from regulatory compliance and data protection, to business continuity, cost and service performance.”
The more things change, the more they stay the same: users have always acquired the tech they need to get the job done and cloud clearly isn't changing that. Yes, cloud is rather easier to turn on than an NT server, but the song remains the same.
The most remarkable thing about the new service might therefore be the fact it's a departure from Cisco's usual fare, as SaaS is not usually the Borg's bag. The cloud may have made one change after all! ®