The senseless battle over easy, secure data access

IT and users must work together to find safe, simple ways to access data and not scapegoat one another

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In reading "IT, keep your hands off my cloud storage" by InfoWorld's Galen Gruman, as well as some of the feedback to it, I was reminded of the many, many times I've had strikingly similar conversations with my own clients -- both those in the IT trenches and the C-level folks expressing usability concerns on behalf of the user base. No matter how many times I've heard it, I'm always surprised by how often these two groups fail to find middle ground on the issue of access to data and data security.

Can't we all just get along?

On one hand, IT is charged with -- and held responsible for -- protecting the organization's data against loss or exposure. The easiest way to do that is to throw up huge walls around the enterprise IT infrastructure over which the organization's data ne'er shall cross. That seems simple enough, and it's traditionally the approach most enterprise IT organizations have clung to -- relenting only when forced.

Unfortunately, that approach completely fails to take into account the legitimate business needs of the employees. From their perspective, if they can't get that presentation done from home the night before a meeting with a client because corporate IT is preventing offsite access to their data, you better believe they're going to at least complain or, more often, go right around IT and use unsanctioned (or even prohibited) means to get what they need -- a point Gruman aptly makes in his piece.

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