Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Internet User Policy and Internet Acceptable Use

The misuse of the Internet represents a loss of productivity and abuse of resources for non-business needs. Employee productively, network performance, security issues, legal liability and bad publicity can affect company’s who fail to have a policy and the right tools in place.

Controlling Internet usage to stop staff surfing for Internet porn, legal downloads, taking up bandwidth and legal liability or behaviour that may damage reputation. An Internet Acceptable Use policy can clarify company usage, protect against liability and security threats and educate users on effective good practise and the consequences for breaching the policy.

You’ll need to decide how much personal Internet use is acceptable and what types of content and sites/files need to be blocked and locked down. Porn, Gambling, Harmful sites, Social Networking Sites, File Sharing and as well as blocking image files (bmp, gif, jpg, png, tif), movies/music (avi, mpg, mp3) and executable files so users can’t download or run them.

Another issue is protecting company secrets and data. You’ll need to educate users and make sure they understand password security, the breach of confidence, copyright, data protection and not forgetting digital harassment like racial/sexual. Managers across the organisation also have a responsibility to ensure that they fully understand the email policy and effectively communicate this to staff.

My advice is to write your policy before evaluating any web site monitoring, filtering and blocking solution and work closely with your HR department to lay down the ground rules for employees. In addition also make sure the software reporting is half decent so you can get useful and reliable data out should/when a nasty breach or event is escalated to IT.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

FREE ITIL Movement - Continuous Service Improvement means moving to Open Source ITIL

ITIL feels like a club membership where you need to spend thousands to train, study and implement. By all means let the exam board charge me a small admin fee to maintain exam standards and quality but I should be able to have access to free ITIL material.

After all ITIL is a framework and set of considerations, not global law you must follow. So why not let me consider them for free and then I’ll decide for myself if it’s beneficial to spend the extra money on consultants, books, software, ITIL process maps, events, vendors or just browse the web community for real world guides and tips.

If ITIL is “best practise” (in theory) why not let colleges/universities teach it at least the foundation or primer level. Lots of other subjects teach theory so why leave IT Service Management theory out? When graduates finish studying and start work in the real world of IT employment it would be great if they knew the ITIL jargon and service management terminology the industry uses.

Let’s promote “Open Source ITIL” - developed by people for people to serve the customer. It would certainly make the subject of ITIL more accessible. If Continuous Service Improvement matters then let the people working in IT Service Management make ITIL V4 better in an open environment.

More freedom and license with ITIL will mean collective minds can develop better ideas and creativity for business benefit and service improvement. Not just for IT but for the Service Management industry in general like Human Resources, Estates and Facilities Departments.

Why keep inventing the wheel? Together as a community the implementation will be less painful and costly for all and the customer should experience the results.

I already own shares in most of the British high street banks so why not let me own a stake in ITIL too. Remember my British taxes paid for ITIL development in the first place.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Operational Acceptance Testing and Release Management

Before releasing things into the “wild” I’d like to think we’ve done some planning, risk assessment, backup contingency/recovery plan, hopefully some availability and capacity management to test reliability, also may be some training would be nice and most importantly does it pass the customer and user acceptance as fit for use and fit for purpose to meet business needs.

Wouldn’t it be nice to do these things even before release? Do a bit of forward thinking and actually liaise with stakeholders and the business to make sure the “system” works. Project Teams may even be able to reach up and get their dusty PRINCE2 manual of the shelf too.

Another thing that would be very helpful would be some communication, a dialog between the business and IT might be beneficial for delivering things they what and are practical and usable. Dare I even say “add value”?

In a nutshell quality management, monitoring, software testing will help you deliver customer acceptance and customer joy. Managing complex system is made easier by mapping the inter-dependencies between people, processes, products and partners. That’s what makes any system distribute quality and value.

Before and after release monitor metrics than identify service improvements for Version 2 and repeat OAT again. Remember costs don’t stop at the end of the project – ongoing support and operational cost need to be factored in.

Unless you want to keep trying to fit squares in to round holes I suggest Operational Acceptance Testing is factored in to your Release Management or you may find the whole project drops in to a hole.