[itdiscuss] Personal laptops on church network
dbarber at kirkofthehills.org
Tue Sep 9 09:09:52 EDT 2008
I think you bring up a great point of policy/practice here. This is probably a whole lot longer than you wanted, but I had to make a case for this very thing, and so I thought maybe it would interest more than just yourself.
When I took over my current job over a year ago, the IT was in shambles. Moreover, because of a (perceived) lack of help, users were used to circumventing IT and just going out and doing whatever: buying new computers, setting up their own wireless, purchasing software, etc.
This, of course, creates a bigger nightmare than originally intended. Now staff can't share files because "no one else has that program," and, well, you know the rest. It also meant that those with bigger budgets consistently had better computers, regardless of who actually needed those computers. In the end, though, IT has to support personal computers if they are on the network and being used for church business. Here's the scenario:
Your pastor or admin assistant brings in their home laptop because they have a program you don't have at the office. Then something happens and they can't get it to print and they "used to be able to" or "really need to today." I am sure you have heard it before. The reality is, IT is a service position: our task is to further the ministry of the church or the business in its ministry and organizational goals. Period. So what ends up happening in reality? You end up supporting that person's home laptop.
One of the first policy decisions I fought for was to disallow personal computers, software, etc., on the network, and to move all software/hardware purchasing and installing back through IT (with a few exceptions, of course). And this has been huge.
First, if you were to walk into any business for a job, would they not provide you a computer? Of course they would! Why should the church be any different? If it is valuable enough to the church to have a person perform those tasks, then equip the person with the tools they need (computer, software, etc.) and consider that just part of the cost of that position-because it is.
Second, it communicates a good boundary to the staff person. It lets them leave home stuff at home and focus on work stuff at work. Kind of makes you wish sometimes that you could give everyone work cell phones! It also communicates to them that the church is willing to give them the tools to make them successful. As church staff members yourselves, you all know what it is like to be asked to make bricks any not get any straw.
Third, it makes your job a lot easier. I can't tell you the number of "personal" laptop calls I get every month. But that number is dramatically lower now that we don't allow personal computers and software on the network, except for guest wireless access. IT does not end up supporting more computers than it actually is responsible for.
From: discuss-bounces at itdiscuss.org [mailto:discuss-bounces at itdiscuss.org] On Behalf Of Austin
Sent: Monday, September 08, 2008 9:53 PM
To: discuss at itdiscuss.org
Subject: [itdiscuss] Personal laptops on church network
Just curious on how others in church IT feel about allowing personal laptops to have access on there cooperate network to work on files, etc when the user is issued a desktop computer.
I do not usually allow this - as I believe if a user needs a laptop for their job at the church - we will provide one to them (because their supervisor would have requested it when filling out the paperwork for a new employee).
What do you all think?
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