Can corporate IT mirror the Navy?

Frank Hayes:

…[T]he new Navy policy shows signs of being a remarkably sane model for what users should do with IT, at least the way it’s described by Robert J. Carey, the Navy’s deputy CIO for policy and integration.

The main principle is that if it interferes with Navy operations, users shouldn’t do it.

And if it’s illegal or a violation of regulations or contract requirements, users shouldn’t do it.

Otherwise, it’s probably OK.

Bet your appropriate-use policy can’t be summarized that simply, can it?

Here’s another key feature of the Navy’s policy: According to Carey, personal use of Navy IT equipment is good for morale. Sending personal e-mail, surfing the Web and shopping online during breaks are all fine — as long as they don’t hog bandwidth or otherwise interfere with Navy operations.

So if the sailors, Marines and civilians who use Navy-issued IT gear make sure the Navy’s work gets done, personal use isn’t just OK — it’s actually a good thing.

That’s a truly elegant core policy. Sure, by the time it’s officially issued it will probably be spun out into endless pages of milspec jargon. But because it’s clear and simple at its core, this appropriate-use policy will likely work anyway.

That’s fine for the Navy. But can you treat your users like sailors?

Answer: Maybe.