Why are we making consumerisation so hard for ourselves?

A few times now I’ve written about how as IA professionals we should admit we’ve lost the fight against consumerisation and mobility, admit we have a problem and get on with solving it. And I truly believe this.

The question is, once we’ve admitted it, what should we do about it?

And I believe I have the answer. OK, in truth, not the full answer, but a map to the answer, and the start point has been sitting in our offices all along, being a bit annoying.

A few weeks ago I watched a BBC2 documentary about Britain at Work. There was a shot of a South Wales steel mill from the 1960s, and there were men in their shirt sleeves tending huge furnaces filled with 100 tonnes of molten steel. Fast forward to today and the men are working in protective kit, overalls, headgear and boots. Something else struck me. My Dad’s an engineer. A proper one, building bridges and roads and sitting about in the mud drinking tea wearing a hat and a beard. When I was little I got to ride about in dumper trucks and sit in his site hut and ask him annoying questions like ‘why isn’t that lady on your calendar cold Daddy?’. Now I have a son, and Grandad would dearly like to take his beloved grandson and let him mess about with dumper trucks and cranes, but he’s not allowed.

Health and Safety is the game here. Nobody would dispute that it’s become hardbaked into business culture. You don’t go into an office and expect to see a bucket of water next to some exposed wires. If someone gets badly hurt on construction sites these days, people go to jail and Board Members get fined serious cash. The measure of how seriously it is taken is that it’s gone too far. Any of you with kids will know the palaver you go through with forms to send your little ones off on class trips – i.e. it’s a huge deal.

We need to get our staff to see internet security in the same vein as Health and Safety. Yes you can use your device, but here’s what happens if you screw up, and so here are some tools to stop you screwing up. Oh and by the way Board Members, if you don’t pay attention to this, you are going to get fined. And someone is going to jail. And everyone gets training at their induction. And there are big signs up reminding you that this organisation is depending on you NOT to send the company accounts to the wrong Gmail address or lose stuff on USB sticks. And we audit every year. And we report, harass, nag, cajole, plead and generally make a bloody nuisance of ourselves. Because this is important in the same way that Health and Safety was important in the 70s.

Get it right, bake it into the thinking and firmament of systems, and everyone gets to use their favourite idevice. Mobility and productivity increases become possible because they are enabled by security. We can drive innovation, increasing customer service, profits and generally make life a rosier place. And best of all, our customers’ data is secure. Social Services data doesn’t go walkabouts and laptops don’t get left in the boots of cars.

So what’s my advice? Go and talk to your Health and Safety chap. He will be amazed that you want to talk (most people run away from him). Ask him how he does it. Ask him how he cajoles and persuades and just gets on with it. Or go and talk to the chap that used to do TQM (Total Quality Management) or BS5750. They will understand your issue and will nod sagely and offer help, because they were doing this when you were still wearing shorts (probably).

And then they will make you watch a video on fire safety or something.

Happy Friday Everyone.


About Graeme Stewart, McAfee

I work for McAfee as Director of Public Sector Strategy and Relations, UK&I
This entry was posted in Consumerisation, Consumerization, Cyber, Data Breach, Efficiency, Information Security, Security, Sophos. Bookmark the permalink.

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