Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Shadow IT Department

This fantastic article entitled "Users Who Know Too Much and the CIOs Who Fear Them" really struck a chord in me. It talks about how your users will engineer around you to get their jobs done.

I think the folks in both the engineering and security fields should give this a read. Although we don't take an obvious financial hit by not innovating, we are affected. We need to be aware that when we say "no," we are encouraging (forcing?) users to go around us, potentially affecting productivity and probably affecting security. An interesting question to ask oneself when considering a user request is "how could they engineer around us if we say no?" Read "I, A User" for an example.

The capability of your IT needs to be on par with what's available outside your organization. Two of the biggies that stuck out for me: collaboration and mobility. Both availability and usability have to be up to snuff, or users will go elsewhere.

Sidebar: Tools for Managing Shadow IT
More on Shadow IT

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What happens if Google goes down?

As I listened to the Net At Nite podcast hosts discuss Page Flakes this morning, I was thinking about personalised home pages and online presence. I realized that, like hosts Leo and Amber, I'll try a service for a while, then let it trickle off.

Right now, I seem to have many of my eggs in Google's basket. Blogs, homepage, rss, etc. I started to wonder, "what would happen to my stuff if Google went down?" Not as crazy as it might seem, as Google recently shut down it's pay video service and the corresponding DRM server, effectively disabling all videos purchased by customers over the past few years. Although they later extended the shutdown notice, users will still lose the ability to play their videos six months after final shutdown.

So, when I went to look at the Fake Steve Jobs blog a bit later, I was rather ironically shocked to discover that blogspot was down. "Server error. Try again in 30 seconds." I tried my blog. Same thing.

As you can see, it's up now, but this situation gives one pause in storing stuff online. At the very least, I think I'll be backing up my posts monthly, even if it's to something as simple as an html file.

(BTW, Page Flakes is very cool.)