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Eight is enough! IT's biggest frenemies

Dan Tynan | June 11, 2013
Colleagues can be both allies and adversaries -- here's how IT can cope with the eight worst types of coworkers

"One of my pet peeves is senior decision-makers who are indebted to a specific technology and want to implement it in every company they pass through, without regard to cost, training, change management, or employee morale," says King. "What worked for organization A won't necessarily work for organization B just because an executive changed jobs."

How to keep them in check: You can start by pointing out how much the legacy solution is costing the company, says Howard.

"A savvy supplier can get you new equipment that's cheaper than maintaining the old gear," he says. "You just have to show Larry this in a way he understands it, using dollar signs. Put it in terms of risk, disadvantage to competition, cost of maintenance, energy usage, and lost productivity."

And if management still insists on using aging technology?

"My advice is to accept that and try to get it to work as best you can," says King. "If IT continues to resist, it will end up being devalued by senior management and lose influence."

IT frenemy No. 2: BYOD Betty
No need to supply Betty with mobile technology; she's bringing her own. What she's also bringing: A support and security headache.

Betty may be constantly on the go, but she's never very far from her iDevice. Of course, if she runs into problems, she'll expect IT to support it, just as Android Alex and BlackBerry Bob do. And if her baby gets lost or stolen, well, let's hope there's no sensitive company data on it.

The beauty of BYOD is it enables employees to be productive from virtually anywhere with minimal up-front costs for the organization. But Betty and her cohorts aren't making any friends in the IT department.

"Each new tablet or smartphone platform introduces added complexity for IT," says Nathan McNeill, chief strategy officer for Bomgar, makers of remote support software. "Not only are reps tasked with troubleshooting them when something goes wrong, they also need to develop — and support — applications that work across different mobile operating systems."

How to keep them in check: Trying to keep people from using their own tablets and smartphones at work is a battle you are likely to lose. But you can take steps to minimize the pain of BYOD. Instead of trying to become experts in all mobile devices, McNeil says, tech support should try to bring in power users with OS expertise to help handle issues as they arise.

As for securing BYOD gear, it's ultimately no different than securing devices distributed by the enterprise, says Tsion Gonen, chief strategy officer for security firm SafeNet.

"You start by creating a simple policy that says you can use your phone at work so long as you don't rootkey or jailbreak it," says Gonen. "After that, it's just basic stuff — encrypt the data, enforce a serious password, and enable remote wipes of lost devices. It's not rocket science. People want to be compliant; you just need to tell them how."


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