Wednesday 9 November 2005

Corporate Australia: Bloggers are not welcome

According to recent stories in Computerworld and the Sydney Morning Herald, corporate bloggers are perceived as both time wasters and a security risk. One local analyst, quoted by Computerworld, also claims that they are only being used as "grey area" information management tools in IT departments.

My own observation is that blogs and other social software tools are being used by larger organisations in Australia, its just that we don't hear them talking about it. In fact IT departments may be the last place you see them being used. The real innovators in this space in Australia appear to be in the traditional media and education sectors.

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  1. Anonymous4:54 pm

    Hi James,

    Can you name some names? And tell some stories?

    I'd love to hear more about Australian examples of blogging. Especially blogging for internal communications.


  2. James,

    This is interesting when you consider that many employees now use higher tech at home than they do at work. That is, the workplace is becoming the place where we use old redundant technology and home is where the real powerful stuff is. It has been going this way for some time now, but only redently has it accelerated to the extent we are now seeing.

    The new generation of employees are already familiar with mobile apps, podcasting, mashed applications and a thousand other tech advances that most businesses are still regarding as too 'weird' for the workplace. For them it is a fundamental right to be able to 'chat' with their friends online, send SMS via their mobile at any time, in any place, and access nearly any facet of human information online, for free.

    It is readily becoming apparent that IT departments need to come to grips with the fact that employees may be used to sharing data via USB, Bluetooth and IR ports - and their traditional security nets (just being extended to WiFi) are fast becoming full of holes.

    The other day someone at a client site needed to get a file off a memory card - so they plugged it into their mobile phone, used bluetooth to connect to another employee's handheld device and used its cradle to get the data onto the network. At which point they burned it onto a CD! Completely above board, but copies of that file could now be all over the place - despite someone being able to point to the CD and say that it is securely locked up.

    The point is that security and compliance with corporate policy is something that needs to be adopted by all employees. BITAH says it this way:

    "The main problem is that companies generally miss the crucial point about security: information security is a function of IT not an area in itself."

    Security, and by extension, all policy compliance is something that needs to be accepted at the lowest level of the organisation in order to succeed. Some organisations automate the more mundane aspects of this (password policies, antivirus definition updates, etc) but fundamentally you need the user to buy in. Once you get that buy in, then blogs and other social software is no longer so scary to IT (or the PR department).


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