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
    Jon Bane, 28 Aug 2009 @ 6:24am

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

    "Dude, you have a really messed up view of what the role of IT is. There is more than enough to keep the IT crew busy without making daily spyware rounds."

    Exactly and don't forget to mention that most companies DO view IT as a cost center and not a revenue stream. Who here works in an IT environment that isn't overworked primarily due to lack of personnel?

    I suspect ol' Chris here is an end user who 'knows enough' to think he knows better and has never actually worked in an IT department. Perhaps just started working in IT and hasn't lost his Blue Skies vision of reality.

    Gems like.. Give the user local admin but run AV/AM/FW on their PCs to protect them is a very strong indicator that he has never actually had to support more than 10 users if any.

    The final point I would like to make is this. There are MANY if not most fortune 500 companies, not to mention DoD/gov/DoE though they do go too far, that utilize a managed desktop environment of some sort. Levels of restrictions and implementation obviously vary. These are companies that can afford to and do hire the best and the brightest. To say they are all wrong is a very bold statement. What do you know that they don't? It is possible that you are simply ahead of your times if you will, but I find it to be more likely that you simply have little experience.

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