The technology pro's greatest enemies

How to spot -- and take down -- the six most nefarious adversaries of IT

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IT enemy No. 6: You/Me/Us
We have met the enemy and he is us, to quote Pogo's Walt Kelly. When things go wrong with technology, IT people often have no one to blame but themselves.

"I'd say human nature is the primary 'enemy' of IT people," says Vladimir Chernavsky, president of DeviceLock, provider of data leak prevention software. "We as humans can be reckless beings who don't feel the need to follow protocols at all times. We can take things for granted, which will result in doing wrong or stupid things, creating havoc and annoyance for people working in IT."

Scott Dunlap, author of "The Dung Beetle Manager," says IT people can be their own worst enemies, in part due to both an excess of optimism and overconfidence in their own abilities.

"IT people want to say yes and they want to impress," he says. "But what ends up happening is that, each time they try to circumvent normal procedures for deploying enterprise IT, they end up taking some shortcuts around some hard but necessary steps. Just like you can't make a baby in four months, you can't make IT work without following the right processes."

Recognizing the enemy: Look in the mirror, my friend.

Your best defense: Return to boot camp. Discipline and training help IT pros avoid succumbing to their weaker natures, says Chernavsky. However, no matter how well trained you and your IT colleagues may be, you'll still have to deal with users who aren't, he adds.

"Adopt a disciplined process and hold to it as much as the physics and politics of your systems will allow," advises Dunlap. "Anchor yourself to a good foundational systems-engineering and software-development process. That's the only insurance you have against a lot of stuff getting out of hand."

Did we miss any IT enemies? Add them in the comments below.

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This story, "The technology pro's greatest enemies," was originally published at

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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