Out with the Old, In with the New IT Model


January 6, 2012  |  Tags: Cloud Services Coalition  Musings  Technology 

It’s remarkable that buying computers for employees remains the common practice of most companies. Remarkable because there is a much better way. A more secure, faster, efficient and cost-effective way.

Test this theory. Ask any room full of people this simple question: “Outside of your work computer, how many of you own your own computer? How many own more than one? More than two?” By the time you get to “more than 4”, you’ll likely have only the geeks in the room with their hands up. By the way, my family of 3 has 6 computers and 2 iPads…proud geek indeed.

So in a world where the overwhelming majority of workers owns their own personal computers, why do companies insist on spending precious big dollars to buy employees corporate-issued machines? Companies have always done this for important reasons, including securing corporate data and intellectual property. Standardizing on a specific, corporate-approved desktop image also, in theory, cuts down on IT support costs. However, oftentimes pursuing these objectives by providing corporate-issued machines accomplishes exactly the opposite…less secure data, vulnerable intellectual property, and a more expensive support model.

Suppose for a moment you could fully protect your corporate data, eliminate the risk of data loss/theft, and cut the costs & complexities of user support, while never again buying another corporate-issued machine? With technology and solutions available today, this is now very achievable. In fact, in our own company, that’s exactly what we do. Let me give you a hypothetical.

Today I’m hiring Joe Green as my new CFO. Terrapin’s team is 100% virtual, so let’s say Joe lives in Boston, 3,000 miles from our HQ. Here’s how my phone conversation would go with Joe.

“Joe, welcome aboard! Great to have you on the Terrapin team. Let’s get you set up in our systems.” I would then log in to our secure IT control panel to set Joe up. “OK Joe, here’s your new email address, jgreen@terrapin-solutions.com. Here are your applications…word, excel, powerpoint, outlook, etc… As CFO you’ll also need access to Quickbooks, as well as our secure finance directories….ok, that’s done. Now I want you to go to this website, download this small client, and use these credentials to log in…let me know when you’re done.” 2 minutes later…“Excellent, you’re good to go. Welcome aboard, Joe!”

This describes exactly how I onboard a new employee at Terrapin. Note what questions I DIDN’T ASK.

  • What kind of computer do you have?
  • What type of machine should I send you?
  • Where should I ship your new computer?

Now let’s fast-forward our story by 3 months. I just found out that Joe Green has been skimming the books. Time for Joe to go. I log in to my secure IT control panel and shut Joe down. I still hold all his data, all his email, all my valuable intellectual property. I wipe his remote machine clean of all my stuff in seconds.

Could this be the future of IT? It is for Terrapin and for a growing list of our customers. How about you? Will you and your customers continue to buy machines for your employees, or will you stop the madness and embrace a smarter, better, faster model?

I’d love to get your feedback. Post your comments and let’s start a conversation about the future of IT.