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
    LG, 27 Aug 2009 @ 5:24pm

    Only ff you have 25 or less systems

    Unrestricted access may workable solution if you’re in an office of 25 or less PPL. Not very practical in an office of 200+ PPL.

    Idle Employee's cost the company $$$, Product is delayed, Invoices don't get sent, Sales Calls are not taken, catalogs not mailed, Checks are not mailed.

    It really reflects poorly on the company when Customer Service has to say sorry customer, my computer is a POS and Crashed. Then IT's is blamed, for the outage. Management wants to know how this could have been prevented. About that time you want to scream, "I ALREADY F%%K'N TOLD YOU, REMOVE USERS FULL ACCESS"

    When I started working at this company we were running 95. I was one of the two front line PPL working the line and you were always running all day from one Dept to next. I kept telling management PPL to stop installing stupid programs. Magically when NT4 got somewhat stable and, we could actually start locking down a workstation. 1 month after installing NT, removing rights and using a SOP for approved Software, we didn't have to run all day fixing software issues. Then we were actually able to plan projects and do equipment upgrades/Maint.

    Now 10yrs later some Dept I rarely have to visit some Dept and most of the time it usually of small training issues or user at company X cant sent me an E-mail. Most of my computers I maintain have been running completely stable for Five years and still going. The only PPL that I have too re-image more frequently are the ones the have Full control over their systems. Sure that may be only be 20min of down time. But that is only my time. What about how long the users spent trying to put every little setting back where they were B4, that they forgot how to do and you get a call back to do it for them.

    As for filtering Inet. it's a must in a large office. Everyone shares a same Pipe to the internet. You can’t tell me it's good for business if your websites or E-Mails slow for the customer, because you want PPL to be able to access Youtube, EBay, FaceBook, ect. All those little perks programs that run in you systray accessing internet chew up your bandwidth. We put a Deep Packet Inspection Firewall in place. and now our Inet reports have a curve in them.

    The company spends thousands a year for the internet pipe just so someone can watch YouTube or have IM, so they are happy. Come one PPL; are you that stupid to really think increases productivity?

    IT Departments are expected to do More with Less $$$ and time these days. I don't have time to run around updating computers with updates. That's why; most software is updated from a central point. I have a lot of Viewers that are updated automatically on the next system reboot sure the user has to wait a couple mins but it save IT 10-15 min for every computer that is centrally updated via Corp. policy. That means for every updates that is needed it would take a week before I competed them all, and then I would just have to repeat the steps Next week.

    Also a SOP for computers gives you consistency across the board. When theirs a problem you don't have to remember that Bill uses this program and Jane uses that. It's not that your Lazy their never enough time to sit down for 2hrs, at every user computer to figure out which program is giving you a BSOD.

    WOW did a preview, man is that message long

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