Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Wall Street Journal only got one (major) thing wrong.


The Wall Street Journal, published by Dow Jones & Company published an article that had a few of my peers quite upset.

Particularly upset was my brother-from-another-mother Andy the IT Guy. I call him that because although we are thousands of miles apart we have similar jobs and usually see eye to eye on matters. His post on the issue is here. In the post he links to other bloggers who rip the article to shreds.

I leave it up to the dedicated reader to follow all the links and get acquainted with the article and see why it has upset Andy and several others. Go do that now...I'll wait...

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If you are reading this I hope you clicked the above links and read up on the issue...here comes my 2c.

The article got it exactly right except for 1 major issue and it is in the title!

It is not the IT department that is trying to stop you doing all of those things, it is the security department.

In fact, in most companies if you are quick (and you have to be quick) you'll see that IT guys are the guys who break the rules the most. Find the geek with the long black coat and chances are he is the guy running the phantom MP3 server that everyone knows about but doesn't exist.

Now that that is cleared up, you may ask: so what? Information Security department...IT department..who cares? But it does make a difference. IT has a mandate from Management to keep the servers humming and the information flowing - thats their job in a nutshell.

Information Security has a mandate from Management to make sure that the company does not leak information and does not break the law. The Information Security guys are also not the ones who make the rules, they may make suggestions but the guys who sign off the policies and rules are Management (read: your boss, his boss, etc etc up to the CEO). The rules you are breaking are the rules set down not by IT but by your boss.

Some of the rules (such as rules 1,2,3) are actually made to stop the top level guys from going to jail or at least to stop the company from being at the receiving end of some expensive legal problems. You can be sure that they would not take kindly at having these rules broken.

Obviously I am all for freedom of the press but just know who sets the rules and who signs off on them - its not IT.
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