Time For IT Guys To Unshackle Corporate Computers

from the can't-do-that dept

This one ought to infuriate some of the IT folks, but Farhad Manjoo, over at Slate, is making the case for why corporate IT folks should give up trying to control everyone's computers. He says it's silly for them to dictate which apps you can and cannot use, what websites you can and cannot visit and what mobile devices you can and cannot use. He argues that doing so only restricts employees from actually doing useful and innovative stuff and also can make employees significantly less productive.

The response from IT folks will always be about the cost of maintaining all of this -- noting (perhaps correctly) that any time there are any problems, people will call up IT folks who will have to try to service all sorts of things, rather than having a standard list. And, of course, they'll say that users are often dumb, and prone to doing things that put computers and networks at risk. Thus, locking stuff down isn't only cost effective, but it's prudent to protect the company.

In the end, though, if that prevents important work from getting done (or done quickly), that seems like a problem. In the past, we've pointed out study after study after study suggesting that those who are actually allowed to do personal surfing at work are happier and more productive. Manjoo makes that point as well, mentioning recent studies that have shown the same thing and suggesting that companies that trust their workers on these sorts of things tend to get much more out of those employees.

Filed Under: it, limitations, personal surfing, security

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  1. icon
    FHuminski (profile), 27 Aug 2009 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I have to say, Chris, that you're doing a damn good job of making the case for the restrictive policies to stay in place. that is what IT is *for*. fixing the stupid things that people do with computers, software and networks is your function. While true, that is a reactive response to the job responsibilities. Far better to be proactive and have the policies in place that limit the opportunities for people to do stupid things. Or would you disagree with the axiom "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"? and dealing with spyware and viruses is part of what the job entails. Agreed. Which is why the controls are put in place. I'd rather deal with them before they propagate on the network by limiting the opportunities to get on in the first place. no it's not. the behavior of the user will not change, ever. when it comes to you vs. your users, you are outgunned and outnumbered and that will never change. Not entirely true, but close enough. So again, since you have established that the users are the problem, why is it that the controls and restrictions should be relaxed? if people cleaned up after themselves there wouldn't be janitors in this world. if you don't like cleaning up messes, then you shouldn't work as a janitor. IT is the same way Again - you seem to be advocating a reactive approach (Clean up the mess). I (and countless other IT Professionals) would rather take the step to prevent the mess in the first place. And sometimes, that means the user doesn't get to do whatever they want. So thank you, sir, for helping to show that the premise of the article is still a bunch of hooey. After all, if the primary responsibility is to ensure that the user base has the resources to do their job, we have to make sure that the same user base cannot engage in activities that may deny those resources to the other users. Have a great day!

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