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
    ThinkCube, 27 Aug 2009 @ 6:35am

    IT Pros

    I see a few comments from people saying they are IT Pro's but they are putting the security blame back on IT. I smell a wolf in sheeps clothing. If you were IT you wouldn't be saying to let people do what they want on the corporate computer because you would have lived that problem. I completely agree that one of the roles of IT is to help make working more efficient. However in an open environment that can never be accomplished because you tie up IT with doing clean up work all the time. A corporation that has no IT and allows anything to happen on there computers would most likely grind to a hault because bandwidth would be sapped and individual computers would stop functioning do to spyware and other things loaded on systems. What most users don't understand is that security is much more than just a firewall and a firewall is only good for keeping things out trying to get in but it will never protect against a user opening up the door to let something in. The sad reality of why corporate networks have to be locked down by an IT department is to simply protect the users from themselves. Thus computers need to be locked down to prevent the installing of software by users. Try working with IT instead of against IT and you will get what you need to be more productive. Keeping in mind that "productive" doesn't mean you have multitasked listening to music while shopping online and working on a spread sheet for your next meeting. Only one of these IT will consider work.

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