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Are You Undermining Your IT People?

If IT managers stay up at night worrying about the security of their networks, the rest probably spend their days trying to get around the security blocks. You may think you're fighting the good fight, against bureaucracy and unnecessary rules, but the firewalls and constantly changing passwords are pretty critical.

Here are the top 3 reasons why managers should care about network security and support your geeks:

Minutes saved now can cost hours later. One of our clients experienced this problem. Christian Erickson is a marketing manager at the construction software developer Tekla. "About four years ago the choice of IM in the offices globally was MSN. Someone thought an IM coming was from a trusted colleague even though the content was suspicious. As soon as the down load started he realized he had "messed up" and called IT. They knew exactly what this was and quickly shut down all servers making my work and my team's work almost impossible for a few hours. Then they had to confirm that nothing and been infected and that took time. Just as the day was ending we were back online, answering emails and even using our VoIP phones. We're too connected to the servers for shared documents, email, and the internet. We cannot afford to have something even more serious happen. As a manager, it is not just my time but my team's time that is down and you have quite a bit of wasted money".

Your shortcut could end up creating a nightmare for someone else. Months ago, I posted in favor of occasionally "hacking work". One commenter put it best: " I work in a highly interdependent, highly integrated environment. Most of the rules are in place (communication, collaboration, policy, process and procedure) because the output from one process is the input to another.When people start hacking, interdependent processes break.Yes, person A saved themselves 20 minutes.... at the cost of 12 hours by persons B, C, D and E... unplanned, unscheduled and often uncompensated.Rather than assuming that a rule is stupid (yes, there are stupid rules out there), find out why that rule is in place. If you can achieve the same results in a streamlined way, then hack away".

If people are so cavalier about security rules and process, it makes you wonder wonder what other shortcuts your people take. As managers and good corporate citizens it's rather inconsistent to say to employees, "we expect you to ignore all rules and processes except the ones I tell you to obey". Additionally, what message are you sending to your bosses about your respect and commitment to organization efforts?

Being a manager consists of two parallel responsibilities: to support the organization, and to advocate for your team and your customers. By paying attention to how your team uses IT and how IT helps (or gets in the way of) your team you will live up to those big honking responsibilities.

What's your take on all this? Let's hear from you...

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photo by flickr user CBSFan CC 2.0