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A Joint Responsibility

By Dean Johnson, Support Analyst, Marval


We all know that: for the Service Desk, not all incidents are the same; some are simple, some others need more time, some will be upgraded to problems and require days to be resolved.

For the Service Desk staff, not all simple incidents are the same either. Some are clearly system faults, others are just the user’s fault. Believe me, every Support Analyst on this planet has some funny stories to share!

Lost or forgotten passwords, for example (very common this one). Passwords that don’t work anymore (Caps Lock is on). A blank screen (you actually need to turn the computer on, you know). Mouses that don’t work (did you check the batteries?). A printer which doesn’t print simply because it was not plugged in (yes, that has happened too). While some calls are important and require all of our attention, some others are simple, perhaps amusing too, and we tend to think of them as a waste of time. Users should know at least the basics, right?

Wrong. What we fail to understand is that users have different levels of understanding and abilities when it comes to technology. They are not stupid, they are just inexperienced or lacking knowledge. Blaming the user for their lack of knowledge is the easy (and convenient) way to go, but not the fairest. Personally, I believe that when users lack knowledge, there is joint responsibility: the business, the IT team and the users, they all need to work together to ensure the users are comfortable with their environment. A good training will go a long way: make users more productive probably, release time and resources for the Service Desk, reduce costs and most importantly, increase security and compliance.

We may think that users’ mistakes are funny (and some are really), but lack of knowledge can compromise IT security and the company’s good name. Keeping your customers in the dark means that some of them will never realise the impact of their actions and the potential risks. Every user who isn’t properly trained is exposed to viruses, malware, data theft, etc. If users are vulnerable, the same applies to the organisation.

Keeping users trained and aware of potential risks means that:

-          Your organisation will be safer,

-          Your customers will be safer and happier,

-          Your Service Desk will be able to focus on addressing more serious incidents,

-          Your Service Desk staff will be more productive,

-          Your Support Analysts will remain calm and… sane. Although we might miss taking a few funny calls, keeping our focus on more pressing issues will put our minds to rest.

Not all incidents are the same, but IT security bears the same level of responsibility to all. It is easy to lay the blame on the user for wrong doing; but so long as their actions have an impact to the business, we are just as responsible as they are. Let’s keep that in mind next time we take a call. The incident may be funny, but IT security and data safety are not.



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