The IT Highway Code?

In an annual review meeting this week with one of our valued customers (hey, you are all valued!), we were discussing a security breach they had suffered. One of their senior execs had received an email, purporting to be from the IT department, asking for his username and password. As I’m sure you’ll guess, this was a corporate phishing scam.

The reaction of the exec in question was that this was an IT problem; rightly in my view, the IT team thought that the user had a minimum responsibility, as a fairly senior officer of the company, to understand the basics of IT and to take care in his use of the systems. The analogy used, which I thought was excellent, was that you might not know how to fix the engine of your car, but (hopefully!) you know the highway code- effectively that people within your organisation, particularly senior people, have a responsibility to ensure they have basic IT knowledge. It’s not good enough to say ‘I don’t really do IT’ any more.

This crystallised some thoughts that have been percolating through my brain for a while, about how businesses think about IT. For me, in this day and age, IT is a qualifier – it is certainly not good enough now for an organisation to say ‘we don’t really do IT’. Fine, outsource it, use the cloud, whatever- but as an organisation it is incumbent upon your senior management team to understand the impact of IT on the business at the very least.

How do we, as technology advocates and innovators, get the business on board? I bet those senior execs will be the first to want to use an ipad or equivalent in a business context… I’d welcome your views!

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