Ok, the Financial Times of all things is officially ahead in security thinking of many (most?) Infosec Publications, "The Future Ends at the Firewall"
The growing reliance on network-based applications raises a second question: how easily can workers get access to potentially productivity-enhancing technology tools that lie beyond their company’s firewall?
This is more than just a mild annoyance – the rate at which office workers adopt many new technologies could be at risk.
“A lot of the innovations of the last five years have started out among rogue groups of [office] users and then become mainstream,” says John Kish, chief executive officer of Wyse, which makes stripped-down desktop computers designed for use with applications that reside on the network.
Workers who try out new technologies for themselves, without the official approval of the IT department, have often proved far more adept at finding and employing services that bring direct benefits to their work.
What happens when corporate firewalls block this grassroots approach to technology adoption?
Enlightened companies are starting to loosen the controls on their workers, claims Mr Girouard at Google. “Gradually, organisations are waking up to the fact that they need to give their employees access to more productivity-enhancing technology – often that just means getting out of the way,” he says.
Yet the trend in most corporate IT departments is still moving in the opposite direction. The threat from computer viruses has led most big companies to block their workers’ ability to download software from the internet, restricting their access to new services.
New ways of delivering internet services are helping to limit this problem, says Mr Girouard. Using a new approach to designing internet services, known as Ajax, companies such as Google have been able to enhance the experience of using a web browser. That has meant that workers can get access to more advanced services without needing to download software on to their own machine.
However, that has not done much to liberate the average office drone suffering from technology lock-down. According to Mr Kish at Wyse, this is simply the new reality of office life. Deciding for yourself what technology would help you work more effectively may seem appealing, but it no longer fits with the need to control IT more closely. “It is being outweighed by the realities in front of the business,” he says.
The message, for today’s increasingly frustrated office workers: just get used to it
Hey, maybe we should add another letter to CIA -- how does this sound for an IT Security mission statement: Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability, and Productivity?