Fun and Fear in IT in 2012
April 10, 2012 3 Comments
I have noticed two strongly opposing tendencies in IT at the moment.
At one extreme are those of us who find the new world of social media – the presence of 794 million people on Facebook, probably 500 million Twitter, and the fact that we can be connected any time and anywhere – exhilarating and liberating.
I can now do many things now that I dreamed of but never thought would be possible:
- shuffle my music randomly or around themes (I used to struggle with CD changers!)
- connect with other folk around the world who are interested in late Roman shield patterns or obscure locomotives of the New South Wales Government Railway
- publish my thoughts on IT and on Roman history as real books
- post my photos of “traces of past empires” on a site for anyone interested to see (rather than keep prints in shoe boxes!)
- travel the World and still keep in touch with business
- talk to relatives in Australia for free on Skype (think of the cost before!).
I love all of this and find it enriches my life.
At the same time, though, as an IT Director I am – like all CIOs – simply terrified by the way everything I love, listed above, also breaks down the barriers and controls that protect our own personal and corporate data.
The flip side of the coin of openness is personality and financial theft. It is Facebook sites left open, credit card numbers lost, intellectual property raided, and personal and corporate reputations damaged.
We have all heard the scary statistics – most of them unverifiable – about how people share information and devices, and about how companies are hacked without even knowing it.
So what do we conclude?
Well, the world has changed. This is not about a change that might happen. It has CHANGED.
The Internet IS integral to the lives of the next generation (and many of is in the current one). Online communications ARE now rivalling face-to-face contact in many ways. Attitudes to information, mobile devices and social media HAVE changed both our personal and our working lives irrevocably.
We live in a world cracked open by technology. To enjoy its advantages and avoid its pitfalls, we have to find new ways to communicate and new rules to live by – whether in business or in our personal lives.