Passive storing can kill IT budgets

10 Aug 2004

Unused or passive applications sitting idly on corporate IT systems are costing companies millions and are putting companies at risk of security threats, a survey by Citrix reveals. According to the survey, 72pc of IT professionals in Ireland and the UK admit that this is a normal state of affairs.

According to the survey of 1,400 IT professionals polled at a recent Citrix iForum in Edinburgh, unused applications fill whole servers to capacity and use up hundreds of man-hours every year. The passive software applications are usually the by-product of software upgrades or merging IT systems after company mergers and acquisitions.

The survey found that 56pc of IT managers admitted to having significant volume of passive applications on their IT systems. A further 45pc also felt that these passive applications could possibly pose a security threat since if not properly managed they can become a backdoor into the corporate IT system for hackers and viruses.

Despite the software lying passive on servers, companies admitted that they can cost thousands of euros in licensing fees, data storage and IT management expenses.

In a worst case scenario, one IT manager admitted to spending €299,000 a year on unused software, incurring the cost of 5,000 unused license subscriptions and monopolising two servers to store its build up of passive applications.

According to Citrix, the most common passive applications currently stored in corporate IT systems are back office systems applications like accounts software (33pc); office applications such as Word, Excel, etc. (26pc); communications applications like email, zetafax, etc. (25pc); network infrastructure applications (23pc) and other applications (12pc).

“Our survey reveals a phenomenon that could become a major headache in the future for some IT professionals and for UK and Ireland businesses in turn,” said Lewis Gee, managing director of Citrix Ireland and UK. “In the worst case scenario, these passive applications could eventually compromise the performance of IT networks by taking up much needed space, increase the risk of security breaches and create an unnecessary drain on company balance sheets.

“Companies should consider introducing appropriate access infrastructures now so these passive applications can be put back into use or closed down in a planned and controlled manner to avoid future problems,” Gee said.

He added that organisations already spend too much time running the business to waste any time on un-needed systems, and recommended that effective access to infrastructure technology should provide a way to manage, mobilise, centralise and simplify corporate IT systems. “Sort the wheat from the chaff, and get the right information to the right user at the right time.”

By John Kennedy