I am the IT Manager for a midsize manufacturing company in a location where IT jobs are rare. As IT Manager, I am ultimately responsible for every electronic device that this company owns, including computers, fax machines, VoIP system, printers, alarm system, etc.
My biggest frustration with my position is the fact that I have complete accountability for the company's network infrastructure and its data, but no authority over any of these. I am an IT Manager in title only. Instead, I should change it to "IT Fixer Guy" or "IT Repairman."
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The employees treat their work computers as their own personal computers. For instance, they download anything from the Internet, stream music from 8-5, burn illegal copies of music, and bring personal computer items from home without my knowledge and attach them to the network. If any of these cause problems, I am expected to jump up immediately and fix it. If I say anything against such practices, then I am being unreasonable. "What's the big deal?" is the line I've heard time and time again.
What to do? I've tried educating employees on why these practices are a problem, but to no avail. It's tough to change employee behavior if senior managers -- "The Suits" -- doesn't see an issue.
I've tried educating The Suits about in-office computer best practices, only to find myself talking to a wall. Several times, certain employees (repeat offenders) have gone to The Suits to complain about my "rules." It's been a waste of time trying to explain to the CEO, COO, VPO why 50MB e-mail attachments cc'd to a dozen individuals are choking our spam filter or why Employee X's computer can't bring up our home page because this guy downloaded a Seinfeld screensaver that corrupted his Adobe Flash. The Suits have a look of puzzlement on their faces and just dismiss me.
So I've changed my approach to something that The Suits could relate to: Time and money. I've created written reports showing how employee downtime is ultimately costing the company money. I've always included the reasons for this downtime such as downloading freebies from the Internet, or trying to e-mail a 200MB attachment (yes, this actually has happened multiple times over the years) and how these practices can wreak havoc on employee computers. I've even estimated the potential cost savings to the company by restricting certain unsanctioned activities. No luck.