Sunday, March 16, 2008

Permissions and Passwords

I'm beginning to see this blog as a starting place for organizing random thoughts and ideas. Lately, one of these ideas has been about the limits of productivity when computing at work, due to restrictive use policies.

Every time I run into a situation where my access is restricted at my job, I'm surprised. Maybe in a couple of years I won't be, but before I was earning a paycheck at an institution I was used to doing whatever I needed/wanted to on a computer. Now suddenly I have to have someone else's explicit permission and approval to get my work done. I'm not trying to go on a rant here, as I sense that a locked-down mentality is here to stay in large organizations, but as a user I do find it really annoying. 

It's similar to carrying a big wad of keys around with you at all times. Every time you encounter a door, you are distracted from your task while you root around in your bag to find the keys, try and remember which key goes in the lock, and what the trick is to get the door open. 

I've heard theories about single sign-ons such as OpenID, but I can't imagine businesses catching on to this for their employees, in the same way that I can't imagine locksmiths agreeing on one key for all doors. The security risks are too great, so we're stuck with this model for now.

But really, there has to be a better way ... I'm sure IT employees dislike restricting access and use as much as I dislike being restricted ... at least, most of them. The ones who aren't trying to exaggerate their importance ... but hey, what do I know? Like I said, I'm just a user. But doesn't it seem a pain for an admin to have to download every latest Firefox update??

I wonder whether eventually there will just be better ways to verify identity when computing ... or maybe there'll just be enough irritated people like me to create a critical mass ...

1 comment:

  1. Actually it's funny I wrote about this yesterday, because today at work there was an announcement about the creation of a corporate portal.

    To be honest I thought this idea had already come and gone, but everybody seemed gung ho. (Maybe they were just caffeinated?)

    Right now I'm iffy about the idea, as it seems like just another thing to have to sign on to, but maybe I'll jump on the bandwagon later.