The Business-Technology Weave

Sep 8 2010   5:58AM GMT

“Open” Data / Resource Environments

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott


Lately I’ve stumbled into one of these “open” environments that are in fashion in some quarters.


Maybe you already know what I’m talking about… a zone whereby the (usually) business minds – that is, non-IT – decide that we can’t have too many rules or restrictions lest we inhibit imagination, the free exchange of ideas, collaboration, and some measure of resultant genius.


What does this mean in that particular world?  Well… anything goes.  Any sort of content or data is fair game for exchange, posting, sharing… any sort of access is granted, everybody come on in!  The water’s fine and… we trust that no one is going to pee in the pool.  It’s a wonderful world, after all…


This is entirely too liberal and it’s extraordinarily naïve.  I liken it to a workshop – the kind with hammers, saws, power tools:  Let your imagination run wild.  Talk to your peers.  Invite anyone in that you like… build anything that you want – but were going to qualify every activity and every person in here for the tools and materials at hand.


You want to use the bandsaw?  Fine – you can stand some training; here’s how.  We want to ensure no one cuts their hand off, or anyone else’s hand.  It would also be nice to know that the circular saw is properly maintained, lest a blade flies off and embeds itself into a wall… or my head.


Obviously to any sane person data and computing resources must involve similar safeguards, limits and maintenance.  Our tools (computers, infrastructure, systems) and materials (content, data), deserve our protection in the form of appropriate use, maintenance, and best planning and progressions.


Particularly in, dare I say it, liberal environments such as universities and schools, it is important to ground everyone in a few realities:  data and system breaches are on the rise; there are outside entities (and perhaps a few inside people) bent on intent to harm; and plain old human error needs to be minimized as much as possible through training and reinforcing Acceptable Use policies.


As I like to say, “Get on it!”


September 8th:  On this day in 1897 Jimmie Rodgers, the “Singing Brakeman,” was born.

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