This week we’ll begin with a wake-up call from Vala Afshar of Extreme Networks: “CIOs can no longer sit there with an IT budget waiting for the business to make demands.” Whereas CIOs may have become accustomed to fielding user requests for new technology, the consumerization of IT driven by cloud services has put powerful work tools only a click away from the typical business user. The IT department can take advantage of this boon in supply from quality third-party service providers by getting out of employees’ way and shifting roles from “provider” to “broker.”

Of course, this new role should not be misconstrued as a passive one. As the article shared by Eric Egnet of MSI Global Business Solutions says, the CIO role is not getting more difficult. At the same time, today’s CIOs have the opportunity to make IT a competitive differentiator in their organizations by taking a proactive approach. Progressive CIOs recognize that individual users have the best insight into which services they need to get their jobs done. CIOs are in a unique position to understand organization-wide trends of cloud consumption. After gaining visibility and evaluating a company’s cloud portfolio, the CIO can pinpoint areas to increase productivity and reduce cost by coaching workers towards or away from certain services. This approach, dubbed “shallow IT” by HP Enterprise CIO Ralph Loura, essentially allows the CIO to outsource innovation to those closest to the actual tools and then make data-driven decisions based on their macro view of the organization’s technology needs.

This process almost always culminates with the movement to at least one sanctioned cloud service. While business units often procure cloud service licenses on their own, the Department of Justice has joined organizations like GE in taking a cloud-first approach with an enterprise-wide cloud deployment of Box. Standardization eliminates the excess spending and limited collaboration that comes with employees using too many redundant cloud services. For example, Cisco found that employees were using a total of 27 file-sharing services, begging the question, “How can employees collaborate when each business unit has its own preferred cloud service?” Cisco also standardized on Box, providing employees and partners with a standard platform for collaboration and reducing cost with bulk pricing.

Another driving factor leading companies to select a standardized file-sharing service is security. As InfoBionic’s Bill Swavely tweeted, security is now on the agenda of 80% of corporate boards. Expect this question to come up: “So, what cloud services are we using?” Enterprise-ready cloud services like Box bring robust security controls to the table, allowing security teams to track the flow of sensitive corporate data and enforce data governance and compliance across geographies, business units, and partners. While shadow IT is certainly a staple of a healthy cloud portfolio, a sanctioned cloud service with investments in security is also necessary for reducing the risk to corporate data in the cloud.

The slideshow shared by Robert Webb of Etihad writes that “Forward-thinking business leaders who address the security implications of the broad digital ecosystem will be better positioned to capitalize on the growth opportunities available.” Data from over 200 companies who took a proactive approach to securing the cloud proves this point. On average, these companies reduced the percentage of high risk services usage by 50% and the volume of data sent to high-risk services by 80%. Security and productivity can go hand in hand when CIOs take the reins and strike a balance between managing shadow IT and standardizing on and securely enabling sanctioned services.

The New Frontier for Protecting Corporate Data in the Cloud

In this report we will explore the two distinct risk vectors that have created a cyber-security blind spot and offer guidance on how to protect your company from data loss.

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