People Will Find a Way to Do Their Jobs

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2010-08-03 Print this article Print

According to Alan Brill, senior managing director of Computer Forensics at Kroll Ontrack, a company's management can make a big difference in how employees use their personal devices at that company. Often the biggest problem, Brill said, is that the IT department doesn't have the budget to buy the products or services that employees need to do their jobs, so they do so themselves.

"If somebody can't get their job done because they can't get something they need, and their boss turns them down, and you force them to go to Plan B, how much can you blame them for doing that?" he asked.

Brill said much of the reason for the budgetary lack is because upper management doesn't understand the work that their employees do, and doesn't understand why they need these devices to help them do it. The solution, he said, is to get the attention of senior management so that they understand why employees need these products or services. "When you move to potential civil liability and regulatory failures, you're not going to cause senior management's eyes glaze over," he said.

Brill noted that it's critical to get management buy-in on moving to new technology.

He also recommended adopting a proactive look at the potential security issues that created by bringing consumer electronics into the workplace. He suggests:

-        Have a policy. Establish a set of rules and let people know what they are. You can't go after someone for doing something they didn't know they shouldn't.

-        Have tools to enforce those rules. You have to have controls.

-        Company IT people have to be aware of legal implications of their actions.

-        Question potential violations-ask, Why is that iPhone connected?

-        Add an item to annual performance reviews on whether employees are doing the right thing to protect information.

Brill said it's really better to get employees to help control data loss than to take some of the measures he's seen. "I've walked into some places and seen somebody trying to squeeze a tube of Superglue glue into a USB port to prevent its use," he said.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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