IT’s biggest enemy No. 1: The Ostrich

The biggest enemy of many IT pros: bosses who bury their heads in the sand when it comes to technology, yet are still empowered to make critical IT decisions.

Businesspeople become the enemy when they refuse to acknowledge they have a role to play in how IT operates, says Daniel Teachey, senior director of marketing for data-quality specialists DataFlux. “Even if it’s something as simple as defining what the term ‘customer’ means to their business,” he says. “Data informs every action the business takes, and unless the business side takes some role in the management of data, IT will be left holding the bag and getting all the blame.”

Even worse, upper management types that don’t understand concepts like network security, yet override critical decisions of their network admins, says Randy Abrams, director of technical education for security vendor ESET.

“If you are in charge of network security but have no power to make decisions, then your job is to take the blame when things go wrong,” he adds.

The classic example: email attachments.

“Several years ago IT managers had an incredibly hard time getting management to allow them to block executable attachments in email,” says Abrams. “There was rarely a case when an executable file actually needed to be emailed, and the security advantages of blocking far outweighed the potential business costs of having these files blocked. Eventually the blocking of executables was built into Outlook, but it was a mindless battle of the clued vs. the powerful clueless for a long time.”

Recognizing the enemy: That glazed-over look when confronted with technical questions, or the moment they open their mouths, says Abrams.

“They tend to say no first without ever understanding the problem or seeing the trade-offs — even when the trade-offs are things that can ruin the business,” he says.

Your best defense: Seek air support from high command.

“You need a data governance plan that spans the entire organization, which means getting a CXO type to step in and say, ‘This is the way it’s going to be,'” says DataFlux’s Teachey. “They’re the only ones with the will, the persuasiveness, and most importantly the budget to get it done.”

But what if there’s no one to give support from above?

“Then you’re between a rock and a hard spot,” notes ESET’s Abrams. “The best you can do is hope to educate them. Figure out the best way to state your case so that it makes sense. Come up with a good analogy that’s relevant to them. Knowledge can be power, but only if it’s shared.”

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Featured Articles

Empowering the hybrid workforce: how technology can build a better employee experience

Across the country, employees from organizations of all sizes expect flexibility...

What’s behind the best customer experience: How to make it real for your business

The best customer experience – the kind that builds businesses and...

Overcoming the obstacles to optimized operations

Network-driven optimization is a top priority for many Canadian business leaders...

Thriving amid Canada’s tech talent shortage

With today’s tight labour market, rising customer demands, fast-evolving cyber threats...

Staying protected and compliant in an evolving IT landscape

Canadian businesses have changed remarkably and quickly over the last few...

Related Tech News

Tech Jobs

Our experienced team of journalists and bloggers bring you engaging in-depth interviews, videos and content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives.

Tech Companies Hiring Right Now