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. identicon
    Anonymous Coward the second, 27 Aug 2009 @ 11:07am


    This issue is much much more complicated than the slate or techdirt article lend you to believe. As a seucirty officer and network admin I can attest to the complications of allowing 4 different browsers or 3 different document management tools. Because now your intranet devs have to code for each of those new software packages. Then you have to worry about the interoperability, someone downloads Ituens and winamp and media player 11, now their computer is slow because when itunes was installed it brought over safari and quicktime and Bonjour. Then the apple updater prompts them constantly to upgrade the things.
    I am a relaxed admin, and I will be the first to admit some admins are out of control with restrictions, but the users on our network enjoy an immense amount of freedom.
    However, This and the other article are just trolls getting you all to rant about a very complicated issue because neither of the writers know what it is like to be an IT admin.

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