When we first hatched the concept of this site, we wanted to call it FUIT.com and dedicate a sizable portion of it to talking about the ways that users are saying "F--- You" to IT by circumventing the roadblocks and policies that organizations put into place (those roadblocks, policies, and the people that implement them will be referred to as "The Powers" from here on out in these posts). The effort to name the site FUIT stalled when we told The Powers what the "F" stood for. So, we settled on ConsumerizeIT.com, but we're still dedicating a section of our site to FUIT. We don't control the domain names, but we do control the content and tags :). We also already owned FUIT.com, and if you point your browsers in that direction, you'll be dropped to a custom home page for all the posts that we have tagged with FUIT.
I guess we practice what we preach :)
In this introductory post to the FUIT section of ConsumerizeIT.com, I wanted to first describe FUIT and what, exactly, we're going to talk about. Every day, more and more users enter the workforce that are more tech-savvy than the day before. At the same time, more and more ways to do various tasks from watching TV online to doing, you know, work are appearing. Organizations that are slow to adapt to either of those forces will find themselves playing catch-up, and find their users looking for ways to get around IT.
Whether you want to admit it or not, we're all users at some point, subjected to certain constraints imposed by the company we work for (The Powers). Those constraints could be anywhere from policies in place to deal with regulatory or privacy issues to an overzealous internet security guy who employs the use of every single feature in his propellor-hat, security nerd arsenal.
As IT pros, we're a bit unique, too. Sometimes we are a member of The Powers, while other times we're just the lowly, repressed users. As a member of The Powers, we tend to be exempt from, or even in control of the policies and restrictions that The Powers put in place. Still, there are some things that we just can't escape...confines that we have to work within just like the other users in the organization. We know that we can only access services on the internet on ports 80 and 443. But we also know that doesn't mean the traffic has the be secured. Want to watch March Madness via your Slingbox? Switch the port from 5001 to 443 and watch away. The power of knowledge combined with the desire to screw around is amazing :)
This really wasn't all that bad when it was just the IT pros with the wherewithal to pull off this subversion. We have the ability to A) not get caught, and B) do it in a less risky way (or at least know when we're wading into deeper, shadier water). Now, though, things are changing. Now, the users are getting more and more knowledgeable. They also know about TCP ports, firewalls, WiFi, MiFis, cloud apps, antivirus programs, and different web browsers. They know about Dropbox, gmail, usb drives, LogMeIn, and Slingboxes, too. Hell, it's not too much of a stretch to say that they probably know about things that even you and I don't know about. What they don't know is at their fingertips via a web search in seconds.
That's what this article series will be about. We'll be playing the devil's advocate, talking about what users are doing to get around IT roadblocks instead of talking about how IT can adapt to consumerization (which is basically what the rest of the site is for). In part, we're doing this because it just seems fun, but we're also doing it because talking openly about how users circumvent IT policies and procedures is a way to raise awareness that this is actually happening. In addition to article comments, we've also opened up an FUIT forum for carrying the discussion beyond the confines of each article.
We've got a handful of ideas for this column, but we're always looking for more. Feel free to post the ideas in the comments or in the forum, or to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With that, head on over to our first FUIT post: Working around your company's email restrictions. See you in the comments!