11 June 2005

I Must Be Full of It

I'm an IT Director, and as with most service-oriented jobs... it would be easy if it weren't for those pesky users.  But when it comes to copyright law, they all agree, I'm full of it.  Clearly, I'm only 'getting in the way' when I tell them not to install anything.

I've been through a Microsoft/BSA audit.  They really do happen.  Of course, only six of the current users were around when the audit happened, and one of those worked for another division.  Of course, I wasn't in charge at the time.  Then again, I don't feel like I am in charge now, either.

That must be why a rash of computers returned from various remote users have installed Microsoft Office 2003 Professional.  Seemingly, from a retail box that one of them had obtained from somewhere.  My employer is licensed for Office XP Professional, but that's not "the latest".

This is where most folks from huge IT shops with limitless resources tell me how I should have everything locked down so that nothing can be installed.  If the users think I'm in the way now, just wait until...
The reality of my current employer is that 85% of the work-force never shows up at the corporate office.  The only other offices that exist, have no server infrastructure.  There are no VPNs to authenticate to, there is no domain to log into.  So, if something happens, the users have to be able to work on recovering their own machines.  If I take this away, then a user will be down for a three to four day ship-repair-ship cycle.

Management Backup

Like many organizations, IT is nothing but a service role, a necessary evil.  Of the top executives, only two were around for the last audit.  Of those two, only the CFO understood the significance, having been the one who wrote the settlement check.  That is to say, there is little management backup. 

I wrote a nice letter stressing (again) that I've found illegal software, and tried to explain why it matters.  The CFO sent a very nice followup mail explaining that it could cost them their jobs.  I can only ask nicely, he has a little more bite.  Nobody has come to me asking for help removing offending software.  I guess it's just that I must full of it.

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