Locked down versus well managed


(Creative Commons Copyright by Luke Gattuso)

Have you every planned a party or some other event?  My daughter recently had her fourteenth birthday and, due to a number of other things going on in the house, we needed to plan out the weekend so that everybody knew where they needed to be and when they needed to be there.

My wife and kids are currently in the process of planning out costumes for Animethon 2015.  Yes, my daughters are big into cosplay and have been doing so for almost seven years now.  They have their own Facebook page, Tumblr account and Instagram account.  They may have more, but I’m not sure that my old brain can handle all of the social media accounts that they may have.  But in order to keep all of their costumes straight they’ve got this giant sheet of paper, with all of the costumes that they need created on that piece of paper and all of the bits and pieces that they need in order to create that component.

They are planning this out.

Now, the thing is that their plans change.  All plans change and they should change if there is something that comes up that supersedes what they were originally going to do.  The girls, at one point, were going to do characters from a specific anime but the producers cancelled the show after only 10 episodes and interest in the show, both online and in person, dwindled rapidly.  Who wants to cosplay as someone that no one knows?  They quickly changed their minds and create costumes for similar characters from another show.

They adapted.  They changed.

Organizations like plans.  The more things are planned out the more “predictable” life is.  Costs are known.  Disruptions are known.  One of the things that people like is when IT plans because there is a lot of change in the IT world and if there is a plan than order can be brought to the chaos.  ROFLMAO <insert picture of me rolling on the floor laughing>

IT changes a lot.  In Microsoft’s world things are static for five years and then they give the technology five years to disappear.  Computer hardware?  Three years and you’re out of date.

In 2003 the world was all “oh, let’s lock down desktops and control things so tightly that people can’t even install print drivers without a formal approval form”.  In 2015 the world is all “locked down desktops are the worst way to go as this is more expensive and cripples user options and creativity”.  Things change.

Instead of a “locked down” desktop what people in organizations, what IT people in organizations are asking for is a “well managed” desktop.  This doesn’t necessarily mean locked down, but managed so that organization policies like security password length, password changes, anti-virus and malware updates and all of the things that you expect to occur are implemented.  But, and here is the kicker, the user is still given control of his/her own machine.  The objective is not to put impediments in the way of the user, but guide the user towards making the proper decisions and, if they don’t, have the facilities in place to stop them from falling too far.  Let’s call it a safety net.

A locked down desktop is a glass prison – you can see what everyone else is doing but you can’t do it yourself.  A well managed desktop is a safety net that is ready to catch you if you fall, but opens up the prison to let you out.