How will you deal with the emergence of ‘Shadow IT’?

by James Wakefield

I was fortunate to be invited by IBM to attend a lunch and hear from Joel de la Garza, the VP of Security for Box.

Joel is the former Global Head of Threat Management and Cyber Intelligence for Citigroup and is now the Global Leader of Information and Physical security at Box Inc. The topic Joel spoke on was "How Will You Deal with the Emergence of ‘Shadow IT', and how he believes we all can fight corporate data loss using business tools to ensure security and compliance of your business data.

Joel explained how the traditional collaboration methods for employees no longer works; especially for millennials, who in the workforce now have different expectations.




Millennial employees use Snapchat for communication, Slack for teamwork and Uber for travel. The concept of Snapchat is that the communication is short and timed, Slack implies people can work anywhere and anytime while Uber has disrupted an entire industry with a new way of thinking.

Joel then outlined there are a number of dynamics that are transforming the workplace:

  • New Work styles where employees are more mobile, collaborative and connected
  • Interconnected as everything is global and border-less
  • With increasing and unprecedented security challenges
  • Cloud is now the dominant paradigm
  • Digitisation means enterprises are creating digitised experiences to remain relevant in the future

To emphasize these points Joel used the examples that:

  • Uber is now doing over 1 million rides per month
  • AirBnB is doing 15 million stays per month
  • Netflix streams over 10 billion hours monthly
  • Box now does 35,000 file uploads per second

Across all this change the constant is that people and enterprises demand security. Joel gave a great example of how in a recent mortgage application he was asked to provide a signed document. The bank wanted him to print the document, then sign, then scan then either send by usb in port or by gmail. All these options were fraught with security risk and the possibility that sensitive financial information would be seen either by people or 'analysed' by Google.

Some scary stats are that:

  • 58% of senior managers have sent sensitive information to the wrong person via email
  • 49 file sharing services are used on average in a single company
  • 4.3% of phones used by or issued to employees are lost or stolen annually
  • 54% of security breaches are due to human error

There is no point to security though if you go too far and make systems unusable. The user experience has to be great otherwise users will find ways to do shadow IT. Joel gave the example at Citigroup where they managed to build the most secure network you can imagine. The user experience though wasn't great as the users found it hard to access the things they needed to work with outside the network. This meant that senior users soon started doing shadow IT projects to get around the system.

So of course the answer is to provide users with a secure, easy-to-use collaboration tool to take Shadow IT into the light. By adopting Box they can be assured of:

  • The security and compliance of their content at the highest levels, and on any device.
  • Improving data security and reducing risks of data loss by enabling secure cloud collaboration.
  • Doing more than relying on sternly worded compliance documents to govern corporate content

Joel finished by introducing his ‘The Tao of Zero’ to think about when you consider security across your organisation in this modern day.




At Tridant we have deployed Box and have specifically found it essential for external collaboration. We can now work in real time, securely with IBM on RFP responses and we can share securely large files with our marketing agencies.

If you would like to learn more about Box then have a read of 

To learn more about Box integrations with IBM DataCap and StoredIQ then please contact us at

To receive regular updates from Tridant please subscribe here:

Recent Articles

Blog Categories

See all