Ten Things Your IT Department Doesn't Want You to Do - For Good Reason

It seems the <i>Wall Street Journal</i> is as bad at keeping secrets as I am. The only difference is, if I tell my secrets, IT managers won't get angry

Naomi Grossman, Contributor

August 14, 2007

4 Min Read

I've never been good at keeping secrets. I try — boy do I try — not to give it up but when a coworker tells me that the secretary in the adjoining office is looking kind of chunky how can I not tell her that she's pregnant? I'm not in bad company though. It seems I share a character flaw with the venerable Wall Street Journal.

Rupert Murdoch isn't even at the helm yet, and the newspaper is doling out secrets that are best left untold, at least from the point of view of anyone working in the IT department of pretty much any sized company.

The newspaper recently ran an article titled, "Ten Things Your IT Department Won't Tell You," and the piece is essentially how to do 10 things that an IT department doesn't want the employees at its company to do.

Want to download software that your company won't let you download? No problem. Writer Vauhini Vara consulted a slew of professional hackers and security experts and they walk you through the process. Want to visit Web sites your company blocks? Sure. Vara's experts even tell you how to stay safe when doing that:

Don't make a habit of using proxies for all your Web surfing. Use them only to visit specific sites that your company blocks for productivity-related reasons -- say, YouTube. And watch your spelling.

Just visit the sites that will help you waste time, not the really bad ones.

Want to clear your tracks on your work laptop? They've got you covered also. Want to stay safe while you're doing that? Here's the advice:

Clear your private data as often as possible. Better yet, don't use your work computer to do anything you wouldn't want your boss to know about.

Better yet, don't do what the IT department doesn't want you to do. Better yet, don't publish this article.

The IT guys are never the most popular guys in a company. Think Jimmy Fallon as Nick Burns, "Your Company's Computer Guy" in Saturday Night Live.

But when you're trying to download a file a client sent you and it's excruciatingly slow and a Burns-lookalike from your company's IT department shrugs and blames it on the overloaded network who else can you mutter under your breath about?

Bob Evans from InformationWeek is furious about the implications of this WSJ article. He writes:

What in heaven's name were the people at The Wall Street Journal thinking when they recently published an article detailing -- and advocating -- how readers can circumvent corporate IT policies to breach network security, visit blocked sites without getting caught, access confidential work documents remotely, and otherwise trash every cybersecurity policy a company has?

Blogger Right Side of Tech takes a similar stand. About the WSJ article, he writes:

I think this article should be called 10 things that will get your fired. Pretty much everything in this article places company data at risk and pose a risk for identity theft. I don’t like these types of articles as they make workers feel like it is "OK" to violate company policies.

Aren't the business guys and the IT department supposed to try to get along?

According to Evans, this article will go a long way towards keeping the guys in suits and the guys with a lot of gadgets hanging from their mid section further apart. He writes:

Perhaps the Journal's intent was merely to tweak corporate IT departments. I can't offer any insight, because reporter Vauhini Vara did not respond to my e-mail inquiry. But if that was the intent, they missed the mark badly, and instead perpetuated the small-minded cliche that corporate IT is run by clueless knuckleheads who create pointless policies and are so out of touch with reality that they need to be defied and deceived at every possible opportunity. And in taking this irresponsible -- and dangerous -- stand, The Wall Street Journal has done a deep disservice to all of its readers and particularly to the IT community

In other words, Nick Burns is here to stay.

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