Thursday, June 28, 2007


My wife used to run a little craft shop and her biggest challenge was getting adults to be creative. When she asked someone straight out to do crafts they would usually reply "but I'm not arty" or some such nonsense. Everyone is artistic. We may not all be Picasso or Rembrandt but there is a little artiste inside all of us waiting to get out.

[For both of the guys who read this column for the Information Security bits (thanks mom, dad) , its coming near the end.]

All of these people have cellphones with their own rings tones, themes, personalizations. Even little things that hang off the aerial, little cases, etc etc

The ones that work have PCs that have custom desktops. It may be a soccer team, cute kittens, a nice colour, pictures of their kids etc.

People in the workplace have, in most cases, few opportunities to express themselves creatively. But it has to come out somehow. And hence, people change their desktops and cell phone rings.
This also leads to the attraction of blogging but more to facebook and its friends.

I imagine it would be possible to fill up 8 hours a day for a month customising facebook, adding friends, adding and removing applications, putting in information, getting more applications that need information, drawing, chatting etc etc. And the whole time you are using the creative part of your brain.

How does this relate to Information Security? Well, a big deal of time is spent understanding what users do. A user is a tricky resource to understand. Companies have to accept the fact that their employees need to express their creative side, and not just the advertising guys and the script writers, but Jeff in Accounting too.

The alternative is that users will find ways to bypass measures in place that stifle their creativity. They will spend loads of time on facebook, swap joke emails, download music through p2p or even just spend time by the watercooler.

Or maybe I'm being too lenient, maybe the technological answer is correct and we should just close down undesirable sites, use "managed desktops" where everything is tightened up etc.

But facebook can be used from a cell phone...

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