Yesterday, in the As the pendulum swings - Users vs. the Enterprise, I discussed how the balance between the needs of staff users and those of the enterprise that employs them has recently swung strongly to favor users as a result of consumerization.
My perspective was that of the enterprise. But even though users are currently in an advantageous position, they may still encounter issues. I found this when I left OpenText recently.
I had worked for over a decade in the same company. Outlook/Exchange was the standard email system during that whole period, and in recent years OpenText's own Exchange email archiving solution was implemented internally. I was comfortable that here was robust data protection, backup and archiving with long-term recovery capabilities that I could rely on without thinking. I kept all of my contacts in the system, and was readily able to access them through my laptop, Blackberry and iPad.
When I left the company, my access to the Exchange server was of course removed. That is when I discovered that I had lost all of my contacts, some ~4,000 in number. In hindsight it was obvious that I had become complacent and was not using the features of Outlook that would have stored my personal information locally. Fortunately, I was able to recover the contact vCards. All would not have been lost, as I use Linkedin for many contacts, but certainly not all.
But, I also connected my primary ISP email account (Yahoo) to Outlook so
I could read both work and personal emails. Fortunately, I had configured the mail service to keep copies even after they were downloaded by Outlook, so I still had copies of the incoming emails, though not some of the outbound. There were a few other
emails accounts that I use less often and did not bother to connect so these were unaffected.
I had kept my personal files separate from my work files on my company-supplied laptop, and my departure from the company occurred over time, so I was able to ensure I had preserved all of these on my personal computer. But had I been required to immediately return all of the company equipment, getting my personal files off the company equipment would have been hard or even impossible.
So, lesson learned. As I reconfigure my personal 'IT World', I will make it more robust and independent. It will have a redundant blend of local and Cloud storage. I learned that lesson with the dot.com bust when a number of resources I used disappeared without warning. In fact recently, both the Adjix and Unhub sites that I used regularly disappeared.
But I will also ensure that I can respect the compliance and efficiency needs of any company that I work with in the future.
The merger of personal and social in the information sphere in recent years has been much discussed. But it isn't just enterprises that have to deal with this, so must their staff.