DOT Discovers Massive Shadow IT Problems

News, Trends, and Recommendations
by Guest Columnist

The Department of Transportation (DOT) found hundreds of pieces of unauthorized networking equipment, including many off-the-shelf consumer-grade devices. It compelled DOT’s chief information officer (CIO) to alert department leadership and launch a complete rearchitecture of the network.

Kenneth Corbin writes, “When Richard McKinney set out to migrate the Department of Transportation (DOT) to Microsoft Office 365, he got a valuable lesson in shadow IT, one that could serve as a cautionary tale for other government leaders as they look to upgrade and consolidate their systems.

“McKinney, who only recently stepped down as CIO at DOT, had been leading a turnaround mission at the department since his arrival, but when it came time for the Office 365 rollout, he quickly discovered how chaotic the situation was, with hundreds of unauthorized devices running undetected on the sprawling network.

“‘No one sat down many years ago and designed a network for the Department of Transportation,’ McKinney tells CIO.com in a recent interview, describing how various outposts in the department’s sprawling operations had ‘stitched together’ networking equipment as needs emerged. ‘We didn’t have an overarching, as-is blueprint for the department’s network.’

“So McKinney set out to create one. He hired a vendor called Decisive Communications to comb through the DOT’s network and identify the unauthorized devices running in that far-flung environment. Decisive used technology from Riverbed to analyze the network, and quickly found more than 200 previously undetected networking devices, including many that still had factory-issued passwords.”

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