Corporate IT: Touch our firewall and we fire yo’ ass

I wrote a post for the Guardian’s Technology blog about fascist IT policies and IT departments, but it’s something I feel very strongly about. One of the bottlenecks in companies is Corporate IT policies meant to ensure security but go too far and cause inflexibility. I don’t know how many friends had to run ‘trojan mouse’ projects with servers hidden their desks because corporate IT wouldn’t or couldn’t move fast enough. Too often, I’ve felt caught between a rock and a hard place – my manager wanting something done now and IT policy or rights issues that prevent me from getting my job done.

Territorial IT departments who view the computers as ‘their’s’ and other employees as the problem are now a serious problem. When I was with the BBC, several clue-ful field staff carried two computers – one with the corporate desktop for e-mail and wires and one ‘clean’ computer for getting their job done.

If your journalists’ computers are so locked down that they can’t file from the field, game over. Don’t laugh or dismiss that. I’ve had to help friends who couldn’t join WiFi networks because they didn’t have sufficient rights, and I’ve had to help friends who couldn’t file audio because their IT departments didn’t have the MP3 filters installed to compress the audio. It doesn’t matter how sexy your website is, if they can’t file, they’ll be back in the bad old days of phoning in copy and more often than not, getting scooped by the competition.

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