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
    Christopher (profile), 27 Aug 2009 @ 5:50am

    Why not a VM sandbox?

    You give the users a locked-down PC, replete with onerous Pointsec whole-disk encryption so that your stupid email announcements are safe from prying eyes, and no one can repair the HDD in case Windows doesn't shut down properly. Right, you do that, but then you also allow users to run a VM image of a standard WinXP build. They can do whatever they want in the VM, blow it up, infect it, whatever. The VM has no access to anything internal to the corp. Also, the VM isn't backed up, so if it gets too far removed from safety, it gets nuked, and a new one installed.

    Done. And done. People at work are bringing in their own laptops and launching their daily reads on the corporate network... there's little to stop them from crossing the domain barrier and infecting the corporate network. With a VM, at least you can build images that won't ever do that.

    -C

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