I work in a large organisation, a ‘Trust’ within the larger National Health Service. In fact, we could be the furthest northwestern outpost of the NHS in the UK! In the past we might have been considered a sleepy backwater and our IT department was small and friendly if somewhat dis-organised. There were always a few helpful ‘geeks’ who were prepared to listen to what was needed to get the job done – and who would find ways of sorting it out. We could call round for a chat (without an appointment) and get a straight answer. Now we have a much larger ‘centralized’ IT department which is probably more efficient, but definitely less personal. We can’t call the IT person that we know but have to call a central phone number and get a ‘job number’. We now have total compliance with ‘security’ policies which are probably on a par with the ministry of defence! Internet connections are of course monitored at all times and wireless connections are forbidden.
After we lost the ability to use USB sticks on our computers I started to rely on Dropbox (a great bit of software which synchronizes files smoothly between all your computers). When the IT department discovered my creative ‘work around’ they blocked all access to Dropbox. I should be thankful I wasn’t thrown in jail, I suppose!
This added to the prohibition of accessing any web address with forums, Facebook, Google or Yahoo in the address! So I can’t access google groups at work unless I go direct on my iphone. And of course we can’t synchronise my work email/calendars with my home computer/phone. I had set up a ‘google documents’ group to share ultrasound pictures and teaching materials with trainees but access was denied for ‘security reasons’. But why should I complain? At least they haven’t banned me from taking my phone to work – not yet, anyway! Does anybody else recognize these frustrations or am I being a bit unreasonable?
So – my question is – how on earth (or in cyberspace) am I to keep up with you guys?
P.S. Check out Paul Sufka’s great article on Dropbox and other useful tools!