Posted by: Jay Dugan
IT department, IT support, Security
Did you ever have the impression that users think of their IT support staff as the department of no? A frustrated user recently approached me with: “You guys have this system so locked down we can’t do anything.” With security as the number one network concern, I can see why users would think that way. Because of the way that we now view security, administrators have gone from the default of access to everything unless denied, to no access to anything, unless explicitly granted.
While this is draconian in the user’s eye, it is a fact of life in today’s IT world. Maybe we can make it a little easier for our users to accept. First, try a little empathy. Agree with them. Yes, that complex password is difficult to remember and changing it every 60 days is a pain. However, educate users in the reasons for security measures. The message should be: “We are not trying to hold you back. We are protecting the company and your job.” Use what ever media is available. The company newsletter or intranet are great places to get your message across. I try to get in a positive plug for security at meetings and water cooler chats or whenever the subject comes up at work.
If we empathize with the user while putting a positive spin on security, we can go a long way to getting our users’ cooperation and polishing the IT department’s image.