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
    Dirk Belligerent, 27 Aug 2009 @ 8:12am

    The Attack of Nat Burns, Your Company's Computer Guy

    I can tell by the unrealistic sneering tones of most of these posts that a lot of the supposed "IT professionals" spouting off have probably not working in an environment much larger than a LAN party. Nerd arrogance is so silly.

    In the REAL Big Corporate World - like Fortune 5 - trying to manage tens of thousands of users who operate in disparate spheres (i.e. the needs engineers are not those of marketing or financial people) and their machines is a constant pooch screw. That some applications from suppliers like PeopleSoft are coded to run in IE6 thus preventing upgrades to something more usable and secure and leaving open XSS and SQL attack vectors (don't get me started on McAfee AV!) doesn't help. That GPO doesn't prevent all software installations (hello, Google Earth) while locking people out of defragging their drives is fun.

    Also, the nerd snobs forget that the users aren't there to be PC experts, they're there to do their work! The PC is just the tool they're handed to do their jobs. Is a carpenter supposed to know how the windings of their circular saw's motor were spun? Does a taxi driver have to know how the meter is integrated with the odometer? No to both; they just need to know how to cut wood and drive safely. The d-bags sneering upthread seem to think unless that cabbie changed the oil before his shift, he is just lazy and stupid. Get over yourselves!

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