Has Rogue IT Infiltrated Your Organization?

Rogue IT occurs when teams outside of IT venture out on their own to pursue IT-based solutions. For example, the accounting team needs updated billing software and instead of approaching IT with their needs, they find an easy-to-launch, SaaS-based solution. Everything works well until IT is approached to pull quarterly billing data that is now housed in an unsupported system and isn’t readily available or is improperly formatted.

In one organization, going rogue might not be big deal – just a few files on Dropbox. In another organization, going rogue could lead to data loss, privacy breaches, security holes and other critical issues. Like Batman’s Robin, cloud-based resources can be your number one ally in battling rogue IT. By adopting a service provider mentality, IT can better evaluate current and future business needs to employ pure cloud or hybrid cloud approaches that bring new projects and updates to life quicker and more cost efficiently.

Signs of Rogue IT

Rogue IT: Gaining Control, a new whitepaper from CIO/IDG Research and Rackspace Hosting featuring Gerardo Dada, Rackspace Director of Product Marketing, lays out ways to identify rogue IT and practical strategies to reign it in and better manage it. The first step is to find out if rogue IT elements are already at work in your organization. The whitepaper offers these three signs of rogue IT:

  1. Phantom Product Rollouts: Innovation without oversight can positively transform an organization when all goes well. However, a reckless maneuver can spell disaster when IT is still responsible for managing and supporting that innovation.
  2. Reduced Requests: When business units are pursuing their own innovations, the need for IT to deliver iterations to existing products seems to dissipate
  3. Unbalanced Budget: Increases in technology budgets within lines of business can signal trouble. In fact, in the 100 companies PwC ranks as “top performers,” IT controls less than 50 percent of corporate technology spend.

Download and read Rogue IT: Gaining Control for a complete explanation of each sign and practical strategies to flesh out rogue IT in your organization.

Lizetta Staplefoote is a Rackspace Marketing Copywriter with a decade of experience writing about small business challenges for healthcare, real estate, and technology. Her passion is researching and writing about the impact of cloud computing. When she's not wordsmithing, she enjoys hanging out with her sons, exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, and feeding her music addiction.


  1. ‘In fact, in the 100 companies PwC ranks as “top performers,” IT controls less than 50 percent of corporate technology spend[ing].’

    This sounds like ‘rouge IT’ might be a key part of success. Skip trying to reign it in, and look for ways to share quality tools and resources across departments.

    • Rogue IT? In my company’s IT has gone from a support service mentality to a dept. that tells the company what they need and will get… even when it does not perform to standards or spec, Core business function needs to drive dedcisions as to Tech products not an IT dept. that only wants what they think you need or are willing to support.
      Rogue isnt the correct term the end user needs should drive the solution and IT needs to conform to those needs and provide support.

      • lol… actually both. What’s needed needs to be a conversation between IT and the Departments based on need, budget, and IT support capabilities.

        Bringing in hardware that has the industry spec network connection you need…. does you absolutely no good if your network doesn’t support it.

        I had this happen at one job. One of the departments ordered servers and these servers showed up at the door one day.

        When we finally tracked down who ordered them, we told them flat out, you can’t connect these to the network, because you ordered the wrong network cards… these are “industry standard”. Was the response.

        Our response was, that’s all well and good but there is no way to connect those to our network.

        Yes, IT can be overbearing, but you will be glad they had their input when something breaks and they know how to fix it.

        That’s much better than having something break and needing to pay a contractor $1000 per day to come in and fix it, and waiting around with broken equipment until he arrives.

  2. With Regards to Rogue IT. Unfortunately, unless you are a Operator, IE Admin, analyst.. NOT EngineerIntegrator. Every single Disaster, AOG (act of god), event, Showcases the Results, of Rogue IT installations.

    Most of the IT people, I have worked with, including myself, were all Rogue IT professionals, by this article. YET- When it counts, When it really Matters, This is where the Rogue IT capabilities show. Backups, OF course they are successful- in a Lab, or per the Vendor.

    My absolute Best Rogue IT powerplay, Cost my company $2000.00 With that pure hardware solution, (Disguised as a test-box), I preformed a 3sec, Disaster recovery, of an Entire Windows Domain (50 users), complete with Citrix Environment. 1-Yes we had backups, BUT not the Windows devices, as it was a Novell shop. 2-The Firewall Solution, Custom Designed by a fellow Rogue IT person. (HE co-wrote the Code for OPENBSD os). Setup a solution for myself, for remote access. 3-Virtualized an entire site. (Esx 2.x).

    Once Hurricane Katrina hit- 3second’s, and Told IT staff, who were in full Panic Mode. Windows domainCitrix Farm, up……..

    Rogue-YES. worked, -Extremely Well. Got me next job..

    Not all things are documented in all companies. This is coming from an IT Integrator, who did 1x User setups- to 1000 User Citrix Farms Virtualized.. Back in 2007. Rogue today, are tomorrows Future solutions..

  3. Rank and file employees, and engineering/accounting/tech pubs application developers (like me) have not been able to rely on the underfunded, “one size must fit all”, “board of directors facing” I.T. department for decades.

    None of the department heads could get ANY work done if they had to use only what the I.T. department “supported”. App devs are CUSTOMER/USER facing while I.T. departments are MANAGEMENT facing. I.T. depts are typically unable to recommend anything other than “One brand fits all”, because the “brand” is all they know. I’ve seen or worked in:

    All Oracle Shop – hates IBM and Microsoft
    All MS shop – hates IBM, and Oracle
    All IBM shop – hates Oracle and MS

    There are other cost effective, fully functional, better fit brands and technologies that “Rogue I.T.” will use to actually get the job done, safely, securely and on time.

    • Really? No department head “could get ANY work done” if they use IT dept. supported apps and hardware? That’s almost certainly pure B.S. People that insist on using their pet platform, software, hardware, etc, and claim that there is no way possible for them to get any work done if they use anything else are immature, selfish, and cause a waste of corporate dollars.

      • I have had countless users complain of being unable to use a particular product or platform despite that their coworkers are using it just fine. Users who don’t keep track of what they are doing, break something then expect me to be able to fix it immediately without a clear idea of what they have chosen to do.

        Furthermore as a former contractor I would go into a company that had their entire infrastructure built by one Technical person at the behest of their “Brilliant” Development team, or their Engineers, or their Sales team, or even their artists/graphic designers. These systems were always a hodge podge system that was running only on a hope and a dream. They are riddled with little issues, that lead to more issues, that lead to more issues… The best part is that nothing is consistently done so every section is a new riddle.

        “Oh you need to take that server down? Sure no problem, oh wait it had a mission critical app on it that no one documented”.

        “Nobody knows the password to that database, someone came in a long time ago and set it up for us. Here’s his card, he quit 3 years ago.”

        The “needs of the business” crowd makes a good sounding argument but they tend not to think about how their favorite product may or may not work within the framework of the existing infrastructure, security policies, or within the budget constraints we are given.

        *BUT* There are also definitely cases where IT tries to Pigeon hole people into using there favorite products simply because they are too lazy or arrogant to learn something new. I have definitely witnessed the opposite situation, in which some of our long time clients (former job again) needed to be able to do something simple like collaborate on a spreadsheet that is stored on two seperate servers and synced two way with DFS (this is not how DFS is supposed to be used but again, my boss wanted to save money and use what he knew and ended up creating some jury rigged solution) but when the request got to my employer they were forced to use excel which would be fine except DFS syncs on last update so the two versions were constantly overwriting each other. This never got fixed when there are countless cheap applications to allow that.

        I guess what I’m trying to say in this wall of text is it’s a two way street.

  4. Frequently, IT is the one that goes rogue.

    I have been working in IT as a statistical programmer, so I know what I am saying.

    IT management goes on to decide, without scant expertise on the subject, to tell the accounting department or production planning about the new architecture.

    IT has this grandiose big picture that the solution they provide will be so generic and applicable to almost every dept in the company.

    So the accountants decide to hire an intern to write and arrange a collection of routines and cascades of off-the-shelf software. The intern writes some SQL extraction routines that gets fed into what you call rogue-software. And the job gets done. So everybody’s happy and IT delusionally believe that accounting is one of the exemplary users of their gleaming architectural monstrosity, when in fact, they are simply SQL-extracting the data to be fed into their own business and statistical analysis arrangement.

    Because? Because IT think they have the grandiose expertise and that satisfying “90% of accounting needs” deserves a pretty good pat on the back. But the other 10% is just as crucial and requires accounting to do hairy/hoary things to cover that missing 10%. And even for the other 90%, they way it is done just doesn’t suit the style of the business/statistical analysts. IT tells her to eat her pie and learn to adapt to the software.

    IT loves a grandiose elegantly integrated infrastructure. IT is frequently the one that goes rogue. Grandiosely rogue.


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