Security vs Productivity

Published Jun 11, 2010 00:00 AM
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All security measures invariably tradeoff productivity and convenience. Security measures are almost never intrinsically good or an end in themselves. That is to say, rarely do people enjoy doing security like they enjoy eating at a restaurant, going to the movie, playing sports, etc. Security is usually taken to compensate or minimize an existing pain.

A June 2010 NYTimes opion piece by a well known technology commentator examines this tension. Here is an example he presents:

"A friend of mine was complaining about the new IT guy his small company had hired. The first thing the guy did is to come in, declare the network unsafe and implement draconian new security procedures. ... In the process, he made life at that company inconvenient, confusing and a lot less pleasant. Had this small video-production company ever had hacker problems? Had there been infiltrations? No, never."

You can certainly debate the value and the details of the IT admin's approach. What's not debatable is that the rest of the organization lost some efficiency and convenience.

While video surveillance professionals are generally on the side of the guy pushing for more security, it is important to recognize and appreciate these concerns as key limitations in the extension of security systems.