Fascinating thing happened to me today. Our company (as, I’m sure, many other companies have done) has blocked access to various internet sites. Some of this has to do with bandwidth issues so we are not allowed access to YouTube, radio stations, web cams, and similar sites. Some of this has to do with plain old time wasting so we are not allowed access to Facebook, Twitter, and similar social networking sites. There are also blocks on sites that no company wants to find their employees frequenting (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, know what I mean.) I don’t know what the key words are or how the algorithms work that identify blocked sites, but I stumble across them every once in a while. (No, none from that last group – that I know of.)
Today, I tried to access Seth Godin’s blog and was advised it was a restricted site. I’ve accessed this site from my workspace almost every day for the last year. Never a problem. Today, it is restricted.
So, here’s the cautionary part of this tale. When you are doing audit work, when you are making recommendations, when you are helping provide solutions, are you throwing out the valuable blog baby with the bad internet site bathwater? Auditors love controls. But we have to be constantly vigilant that we are not controlling just to have more controls. I’m not sure what programmer or executive or auditor suggested a new algorithm, but they should have really understood the ramifications before they implemented it. Is it the end of the world that I couldn’t access Godin’s blog this morning? No. Is it an indicator that our access may be overcontrolled? Maybe. But it does worry me that this may just be the beginning of a new episode of Controls Gone Wild. (Of interest – I can access that site.)