Google's Unlocked Approach to IT

By Deb Perelman  |  Posted 2008-03-24 Print this article Print

Putting the brakes on employees' incessant demands for total access to technology may be tough at most companies, but can you imagine how hard it is at Google?

With the companies near-constant celebration of the employee good life--on-premise dry cleaning, free gourmet food and the much-celebrated 20 Percent Rule--could you imagine explaining to Googlers that the download they have in mind would endanger network security?

In a tell-all in the Wall Street Journal, CIO Douglas Merrill explains Google's unique approach to IT. He feels his job is to give Google workers the technology they need and to keep them safe, all without imposing too many restrictions on how they do their job. No easy task, he says. His approach is "unorthodox."

"... Almost everyone at Google is some type of technologist. At most organizations, technology is done by one organization, and is very locked-down and very standardized. You don't have the freedom to do anything. Google's model is choice. We let employees choose from a bunch of different machines and different operating systems, and [my support group] supports all of them," Merrill explained.

Merrill says that the traditional security model of tightly locking down endpoints didn't work at Google, forcing them to find a new one: putting security into the infrastructure. When he mentions this to other Fortune 100 CIOs, not surprisingly, they are skeptical.

"It's a little bit less cost-efficient--but on the other hand, I get slightly more productivity from my employees," Merrill said. |

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