The Dataprise Blog

4 Problems Employees Create Innovating IT Solutions on Their Own

Nov 03, 2022 BY Nabil Gharbieh

4 Problems Employees Create Innovating IT Solutions on Their Own

The best employees are constantly innovating on the fly. When they encounter an obstacle, they figure out how to get around it. Employees who adopt and uniquely overcome obstacles, often time get heralded as employees of the month or with other recognitions. However, often, employees create more problems when they work on their own, as opposed to working with their IT department. A rogue IT solution, such as a personal google drive or drop box, that cannot be corporately managed, could end up being disastrous. In this blog article, let’s explore the concerns with allowing employees to create an IT Solution on their own, without seeking IT's consultation.

Before we dive in, I wanted to share a quick anecdote. A couple of years back, there was an employee that did not like the Wi-Fi coverage at their workstation and took the liberty of purchasing their Wi-Fi router and making a Wireless SSID to be connected to. For days, the network would shut down, which drove the IT department crazy. On the network, the team saw that something else was taking over assigning IP addresses but could not identify what. The IT Director said it had to be something physical and to comb the server room to see if there was anything plugged in that should not be. As I was walking by the employee's workstation, there was a lovely cobalt blue and black Linksys Wireless Router sitting on their desk behind their monitor. This self-installed router was having a tug-o-war battle over the server's role in becoming the central point of communications from the main network, which ultimately lead to on-again, off-again internet access. Now let’s explore some of the key problems with IT solutions being created independently from your IT department.

Your 1st Problem: Data Loss

A major problem is when an employee creates an account with their personal information (email, phone number, etc) and loses accessibility to that email. Because that email is not managed corporately, there is now the risk of losing the data saved to that account. Alternatively, if an employee exits the business, there is a massive risk of that data loss, if it cannot be retrieved by the organization. With the hybrid workforce growing more, it is not uncommon to see employees resorting to measures on their own since they may feel disconnected from the organization, working remotely.

As a consultant, we always advise to only create login credentials that can be corporately managed, no matter the position in the organization. If an employee exits the business or gets hacked, for example, the company must be able to pull the plug on access as soon as possible to mitigate damage.

Your 2nd Problem: Control

If you have not found yourself asking this question yet, I want to pose it to you now: who controls your Data? Your IT Department? or the "Solutions Hero", operating on their own within the company?

When it comes to proprietary and sensitive data, the organization must have autonomous control. This aligns with the previous point, and I advise my clients to ask themselves internally the following questions:

  • Where is the data being stored?
  • Who has control of the data?
  • Who has logged in to access it, and who has not?

Your 3rd Problem: Compliance and Lawsuits

I get a chance to work with a lot of organizations on maintaining compliance to avoid regulations, fines, and lawsuits. When insurance and/or auditors (Vendors, government, Compliance Boards) ask you to answer:

  • "Does your IT department control all of its Data?"
  • "Is your data archived for the last seven years?",
  • "Is your data protected with 2-factor authentication?"
  • "Are you able to lock out access to your data in the event of a hack or malicious employee?"
  • "Do you have a log of who has accessed what data?"

As a consultant, I work with clients to ensure that the answer to all these questions is a resounding yes. Your organization must be compliant with all government regulations and responsible for any independent actors within the organization, otherwise, the risk of fines and regulations loom over the business.

Your 4th Problem: Scalability

With IT Cloud services growing rapidly and solutions like Microsoft Azure, and Office 365, I advise organizations to set up their solutions to collaborate. The amount of automation, intelligence, and workflows that can be established can help your organization efficiently scale.

For example, when all your data is within the Microsoft ecosystem, the different data points can all contribute to a workflow that automates it or dumps to a powerful Business Intelligence (BI). There are so many rich opportunities that show up almost monthly, and the ability to be able to take advantage of those new abilities will help businesses grow over their competition.

The goal for every business is to grow and to do that, you need to scale smartly as well as effectively. Having systems that function independently from what is created by your IT department can lead to inefficient and not secure work.

 

One thing to note is typical when you find an employee who has come up with their own IT solution, it's not their fault. Often these employees are on the front lines and are improvising a problem that is leading them to be more efficient, but at the cost of them working independently. As a consultant, I recommend having a strong pulse on your business and employees, so you can catch the problem early, and innovate as a team. Questions to ask internally are:

  • "Was the IT department listening?"
  • "Did the IT department make itself accessible to employees, via in-person or by an online forum where people can voice their problems?”
  • “Does the CIO, IT Director, and IT Manager sit in regular non-IT meetings to hear what is going on in different departs to see how IT can help support the cause or come across problems that can be fixed by IT?”

Dataprise strives to provide the best possible IT consulting services. When my team or I work with clients and their employees, the one thing I make sure to be clear on is that my role is designed to be your consultant. Every business is different, and we strive to assist your team in developing custom solutions, that can successfully be integrated within your IT department.

Rogue IT solutions can lead to data loss, control and compliance issues, and inefficient scalability. While most employees have good intentions when innovating IT solutions, it's important for those solutions not to be independent, but to be corporately managed. Dataprise strives to provide the best possible IT consulting services. If you are interested in learning more about our professional services, click here to learn more.

Ultimately, I like to say, "Treat Data like your kids and your business; keep them off the streets!"

IT Consulting
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